Thursday, June 26, 2008

Being of the other orientation - and, well, Christian

Here is the rub - the fact remains that I'm gay and I'm a Christian. For most people, those two ways of being are irreconcilable, but for those of us who know we are - we simply know we are. We've done the hard work and we understand that their is reconciliation between the fact of orientation and the fact of faith. Let others disagree, but those others probably have not done their homework - really - and simply don't want to understand.

But then, being a Christian must impact and influence our being within the Western Gay sub-culture! What this means is that as a Christian, I am first called to be as Christ calls me to be, which is first a foremost loving, considerate, patient, forgiving, long-suffering if need be, and so many other things that this present world-system decries.

What does it mean to love? How am I then to love, despite it all? Take the ending of my relationship around a year ago, for example. The reality of ending came only last November when the whole truth came out. My former partner has become involved in a profoundly unhealthy and self-destructive relationship. He desperately tries to maintain some sort of connect with me because I am stable, because I demonstrate that I want the best for him, because as he said, "My relationship with you was the most healthy I've ever had." He realized that too late, however.

I've been lied to. I've been rejected. I've been sidelined. I've been neglected. He expects things of me that are so outside the realm of reasonable for an ex-partner that I stand back in amazement. My heart has been ripped out, yet how am I to react to him? If I say that I loved him - love him - as Christ calls me to love, how then am I to react? My heart breaks for him.

I have to understand that to act lovingly is not to enable self-destructive attitudes, emotions, and behaviors. To love is to be open to presence when desperation presents itself. To love is to seek his wellbeing above my own without forgetting my own. This kind of love is just very difficult, and certainly not based on fickle and often misguiding feelings.

As a Christian, my definition of "love" does not rest on the current cultural norms. How am I to love? Here it is: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

Love never fails. How am I to not fail as I try to love him still, healthily? This is how I am called to love even those who reject or mistreat me. This is how I must love my former partner in all his confusion and dysfunction. This isn't easy because I face contrary influence from all sides. From one side, well, it is advise of rejection because to love someone of one's own gender is immoral. From one side, my reaction to him also should be rejection along the lines of, "F--- you, you bastard," and never talk to him again. For some, I should revel in his screwed-up live because it is what he deserves. But, such rejection does not seem to fit the definition of "Love" the Apostle Paul calls us to.

Frankly, it sucks! Yet, if first comes faith and belief that the Way of God presents to us a best way forward, for my own individual good and for the good of him, too, then this how it must be. God help me. God help him.

Friday, January 18, 2008

More posts, more work

I think I may post a bit more here. I've been struggling through a break-up over the past few months and perhaps I need to blog some in this space.

To some degree, I do need to continue dealing with the whole gay-christian debate for myself and for those traversing this whole mess. Mess, I guess, because to be honest and to seek truth we have to put ourselves in positions that are messy, where there are not easy answers, where life is raw and real. This is the space where the gospel has the most relevance, despite what so many think is the more right or more true or more...

I've come to the conclusion that this wrestling between the reconciliation of faith and orientation leaves scars that remain with us throughout our lives. The question is whether we let the scars determine who and what we are and affect the course of relationships and just plain life in general.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Enlightenment or deception?

I came across this note I wrote a while back the other day. I'm not sure how long ago I wrote it, but I can imagine due to the content. Here it is:

It's hard letting go of the things I first learned. Rather, it's hard knowing what I should or should not let go of. There is comfort and familiarity with the first stuff, always doubt and suspicion of the new. Not even that excitement and wonder concerning the new stuff isn't present, because it is, but just a concern at best and fear at worst that whether giving up the first understanding for the new is really deception rather than enlightenment.

Frankly, there isn't much different in what I actually believe spiritually, except for the issue of homosexuality now and 15 years ago. [I suspect I will have to say 20 years ago very soon, but for now 15 is still good.] Then, there is also the way I approach the whole endeavor. I will say now, often, that I simply don't know.

Evolution or Creationism [or intelligent design]? Now, it doesn't matter to me because if either is true or false my faith in God is not affected. [My faith in the reliability of Scripture to speak to our lives by God's doing is not affected.] I am now free to employ good science and reason to the question rather than have to defend either because I am not wedded to either as a foundational issue in my life or worldview or cosmology. My faith (as a Christian or atheist) doesn't depend on the correctness of thought of an issue. Is that a good place to be or not?

I think it is! Science, good science, should do nothing but confirm God's universe, if we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mind open to receive the truth of it. Religion, good religion, should do nothing short of explaining the honest significance of it all to a humanity created by a careful hand in God's own image. If, that is, we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds that are open to receive.

[This is perhaps the best defense of my change in belief of what Scripture actually says about homosexual people and the possibility of relationships. Science shows us that our previous assumptions were not and are not correct. Our understanding as we strive to understand God's will for His creation will be enlightened by good science to show us how things really are in His creation, then how we should be.]

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Brains, biology, sheep, and Christian ethics

In my Christianity Today daily e-mail news update, there was a short article entitled "Re-engineering Temptation" about the controversies resulting from the blog entry by Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, on possible Christian responses to ideas of preventing homosexuality through hormonal therapies that prevent prenatal homosexuality or negate the sexual temptation for one's own sex in adulthood.

This short article dealt with the Christian ethics if a true biological component is confirmed in the establishment of a homosexual orientation (not preference).

In the article, the author mentioned a five years study being conducted at the Oregon Health and Science University by Dr. Charles Roselli. This paragraph really caught my attention, for one reason that the author of the article didn't attempt to refute it.
"The story begins at the Oregon Health and Science University, where Charles Roselli studies homosexual sheep (about 8 percent of rams are gay). His research, now more than five years old, has confirmed a link between brain chemistry and sexual preference. But his data does not indicate whether chemistry or preference comes first."
At least this seems to suggest that if we look to nature for signs of right theological definitions and concepts, then we will need to conclude that within nature, homosexuality is present and a normal part, even if in small percentages.

So, here are two links to press releases by the university concerning the research of Roselli:



If science is done well, it will tell us what is observably and verifiable factual. What we choose to do with that information, those theories, those facts, is the realm of ethics and theology.

Alan Chambers, president of the ex-gay umbrella group "Exodus International" commented in the article:
"People like me who struggled with it and found freedom are more than sufficient proof that we can overcome our genetics," he said. "Science will never trump the Word of God."
Frankly, I agree with him, with a caveat. Science and theology deal with two different realms of knowing. Each, rightly construed, should inform one another, not conflict. After all, good science will help us understand what God has wrought. Good theology will help us understand what to do with the knowledge.

Science will never trump Scripture, but Scripture rightly understood will never contradict good science. This was the thought of those ancient Christian monks who developed the beginnings of our modern understanding of science and the observation of the world as it is.

What science may well do is help us understand whether we have rightly interpreted and understood the Word of God! In this case, if science gives us reliable and verifiable evidence that there is in fact a biological determinate concerning homosexuality, then the way we approach, understand, and apply the Word of God concerning this issue may well need to change - not because God changes or the Word of God changes, but because we are wrong in our traditional understanding and application of the Word of God.

After the science, then theology comes into play. What shall we then do?

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

What is, is

Most of the opposition to same-sex relationships these days centers around "behavior." Most of those who oppose same-sex relationships will admit that there is a difference between "being something" and "acting in some way." There still are, of course, those who insist that homosexuality does not really exist and those who self-identify as "homosexual" or more pointedly "gay" are really heterosexuals with a problem (thus the creation of "Same-Sex Attraction Disorder, or "SSAD," by Joseph Nicolosi's NARTH) or who know they are heterosexual and have gay-sex anyway.

The problem with simply focusing on behavior is that a false "being" is created. If you do not engage in certain behaviors, you are not in your "being" this thing. If a person is homosexual and never acts sexually, that person is still a homosexual. Most ex-gay ministries and the anti-gay “therapeutic” community often deny the reality of this “being”.

They will say that our "being" is determined by how we identify the self. If we do not identify as "homosexual," or more particularly "gay," then we are not, despite what sexual temptations we may face or how our emotional attractions seem to be ordered. Currently, the whole "ex-gay" tag is generally defined by a person simply not claiming to be "gay” any longer, again, regardless of how they feel or to whom they are affectually or sexually attracted.

If they want to base the anti-gay arguments on behavior, then I can easily say that same-sex relationships that do not engage in certain behaviors are absolutely permitted. If I don't do this, or this, or that, then there is no problem. Of course, what "this" or "that" behavior actually is or what the behavior(s) comprise is another issue. What anti-gay groups want to happen is an end to self-identification as homosexual or gay, and in so doing they will change their "being." The not doing of certain behaviors will not be enough; anything short of an end to self-identification (or honesty about how one actually feels and knows himself/herself to "be") as gay will not be tolerated.

If the behaviors were removed from the equation, they would then say that you simply have a very good friendship - buddies, palls, and the like. This ignores the whole affectual domain. That deep attraction, love, devotion, etc. for the beloved that exists between to heterosexuals, that is sometimes expressed through sexual behavior, is also present for homosexuals. This aspect of "being" is all too often ignored among the arguments against same-sex relationships.

Heterosexuals don't stop being heterosexuals in their "being" if they do not engage in sex, and a married couple does not stop being a loving heterosexual couple if for whatever reason they are unable or unwilling to engage in certain behaviors.

If is very difficult, at least with regard to the current language and tactics used by the anti-gay/ex-gay camp, to deny same-sex relationships if those relationships simply happened to not include certain behaviors.

As a Christian I cannot deny reality! I cannot create or demand in my own "image" what is or isn't, what sense of "being" is or is not. Honesty is a huge issue, and reveals itself in the overwhelming failure over time of the ex-gay persona and message. The "being" they demand and want cannot be sustained by the vast majority of people - even those who are highly motivated.

I have much more respect of the U.S. Roman Catholic organization “Courage” than most Evangelical ex-gay ministries - Exodus. Courage has traditionally focused on helping gay Catholics maintain celibacy, despite what they feel. It is not a denial of their very “being,” but rather an emphasis on how they believe they need to behave regardless of who or what they are. This is a different emphasis and understanding of the “being” of homosexual people that one finds in most Christian anti-gay/anti-same-sex relationship groups.

comments? e-mail me

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The change

In responding to a challenge from another blog, I wrote some stuff about my process of changing my position on the belief that same-sex relationships are permissible. Here is what I wrote. It is very long, as blog posts tend to go:


I have started this 16 different ways. I’ve written from an academic perspective to a purely personal one. It has gone from a few paragraphs to an essay to a survey to a paper to a thesis (albeit a short one, as those kind of things go).

Where in the world do I begin with a lifetime of experience – living, praying, studying, observing, praying some more, seeking God with all my heart, reading, listening, watching, and on and on and on.

You know, time and again I am accused by people of “obviously not studying the bible,” or “obviously choosing to conveniently ignore parts of the bible,” or “obviously being deceived by Satan,” or “obviously just wanting to justify sin,” or “obviously so immature in the faith that I cannot understand God’s simply truth,” or “so corrupted by meaningless academics that I can’t understand the plain reading of Scripture,” or “obviously…”

I really have been accused of all those things, repeatedly, because I have come to believe through all that I’ve detailed in the second paragraph that the way the Church through her Tradition has dealt with the few pericopes presumed to deal the all issues homosexual has been wrong. I initially came to the question with trepidation and with the same assumptions as most Christians continue to hold. When someone accuses me of what I’ve detailed in the preceding paragraph, I want to laugh. The first thought that comes to my mind is, “you’re an idiot for assuming such a thing… why don’t ask questions to find out rather than making an --- of yourself.” But, that is not the “love thy neighbor as thyself” kind of thing to do, so I repent and keep quite and go on.

I grew up within Pentecostalism and American-Evangelicalism, until I became an Episcopalian at around the age of 34. I was ready to chuck the whole church thing because I was so sick of the hypocrisy, the inability of people to spend even a little bit of time actually thinking about their faith beyond simplistic levels, and the pedantic way people condemn to hell anyone who didn’t agree with their particular viewpoint (and now, it isn’t just theological viewpoints, but political and social as well).

Now, I’m not talking about just a few people for whom it would be easy to dismiss these kinds of attitudes – I’m talking about the generalized attitudes of whole movements. I’ve lived through it in various denominations, churches, and with scores of people. Now, I’m very glad that I grew up within these traditions – I know that I know that I know that I have experienced God! I have witness divine and medically verifiable healing. I have experienced miraculous things – honestly so. I know the power of the Enemy. But, there is more than spiritual milk - there is meat.

I have been put in places or have put myself in places where everything that I’ve believed has been challenged. When I went to college, the campus ministry I became involved in absolutely rejected any supernatural “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” functioning in the Church today – all that passed away after the Apostolic period (I Corn. 13:8 was a favorite verse quoted to me over and over, along with others students). Since I grew up Pentecostal, I had a bit of a crisis of faith. Did I believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Gifts just because that is how I grew up and was taught? Did I assume that what I believed already was the Truth? Was I misunderstanding/misinterpreting Scripture? Was I under the influence of false teachers? Was Satan really influencing me because I spoke in tongues? Were those healings that I witnessed really trickery of the Enemy? So, I did what any good Christian should do – I prayed that God would show me the truth and whether I have been deceived and believed the wrong thing up until that point. I studied scripture all the more; I prayed; I read the exegetical and theological perspectives of more people; I sought counsel from people who knew a lot more than I did. Now, since I wanted to know, really know, Truth, and since I was confronted with two very different and opposing scriptural and theological perspectives, I read stuff from both sides of the dividing line. I needed to make a decision – what did I believe? We all believed in Jesus, our fallenness, our need for salvation, that the Bible was the very inerrant, inspired Word of God – but, well, this issue was enough to have me, and all those who believed like me, labeled as heretics.

At the time, the vast majority of the Church universal rejected Pentecostal claims. We had only been around since the Azusa Street Revivals from the 1920’s or so. 50+ years is not a very long time for such a drastically contrary movement to exist. Funny how the first leaders of Pentecostalism were summarily condemned, rejected, expelled from denominations, defrocked, and some even killed by other good, God-fearing and “orthodox” Christians. Pentecostal churches were burned down and people were literally run out of town. How things change – in such a short period of time.

Again, I lived through the embarrassment of being a called a “Holy Roller,” accused of being people who put “emotionalism” above serious faith, and who where just plain ignorant of God’s plain scriptural truth. Well, then came the Charismatic renewal movement. Now, Pentecostalism/Charismatic faith will overtake Roman Catholicism in a decade or more to become the largest expression of the Christian faith. My, how things change! Of course, denominations and theological perspectives still condemn Pentecostalism and still call its practitioners heretics, but, well, their assumed authority due to their formerly majority status just doesn’t cut it any longer. The cats out of the bag.

The liturgical and sacramental expression of the Christian faith is another example. Growing up, Catholics and Orthodox and Episcopalians and most Lutherans were all going to hell because they relied on dead tradition and rituals for their presumed salvation, rather than personal salvation by faith in the living God through Jesus. Some even said that the salvation of people who lacked the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was questionable, but I couldn’t go that far. Roman Catholics were the worst – they actually called their pastors “Father” in direct violation of Scripture, and actually claimed Mary was the “mother of God.” No human can be “GOD’S” mother after all – He is eternally existent. I can show you chapter and verse why “those kinds of Christians” were heretics and deceived and not going to heaven. We actively engaged in evangelism to get Catholics and Episcopalians, etc., saved. Those poor people, they were deceived by anti-Christ (who some believed was the Pope). When I became a teacher in a Roman Catholic High School, I was confronted with my misinformed prejudices, I was forced to again go back to Scripture and to pray and to seek God’s for His Truth. Now, I am near an Anglo-Catholic. How things change!

I can recount other such experiences where I have had to stop and consider whether what I then believed was wrong or right or somewhere in between because I was confronted with undeniable examples of stuff contrary to what I then believed, how I interpreted Scripture, and to which theological perspective I aligned with.

So, then I was confronted with homosexuality. What I had always believed was challenged. What I had always been taught was challenged. What I had always regarded as the plain reading of Scripture was challenged. I really didn’t care what the Tradition had to say – reference the above concerning Pentecostalism and what I was taught about liturgical and sacramental faith. What I wanted to know is what God thought – what is the Truth. “Let God be true, and every man a liar!” (Romans 3:4)

The first place to start was Scripture itself. Because I was confronted numerous times with people who held vastly different scriptural and theological perspectives on primary issues, I knew that honest people of faith, who loved Jesus and wanted God’s will to be done, could and will disagree and yet still be regenerate. I knew that if what I read and who I listened to where only those books or people with whom I already agreed, then what I would be doing was, “…to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear… (2 Tim 4:3-4)

You see, Truth Unites, it is not just the “liberals” who often gather around themselves those teachers who scratch their itching ears, but “conservatives” often do the same thing. I thought at one time, by the encouragement of others and what then seemed rational, that in order to protect myself from deception I should not read or listen to teachings contrary to what I’ve already been taught – the faith once delivered. (Galatians 1: 8-9, as you previously posted) Don’t listen to those non-Pentecostals, don’t listen to those Catholics, don’t listen to those Calvinists, don’t listen to those Social-Gospel mainliners, don’t go near that liberal heresy, etc., etc. Much of American-Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism is caught up in this way of thinking. I know this all too well from personal experience and by what I continue to read and hear. The Emergent Church conversation/movement is moving away from this, thankfully. Anglicanism on the whole has never been this way! I fear that forces are afoot trying to change this aspect of the Anglican Tradition. This has not been a traditionally accepted Anglican-Evangelical notion or way of doing theology, although I know it has invaded current day Anglican-Evangelicalism.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand – the Church’s dealings with the issue of homosexuality, Scripture, Tradition, and how we should live. So, after being confronted with irrefutable challenges to what I had always believed, I went to Scripture. I read all different kinds of English translations, and what I found was that some used the word “homosexual” and some didn’t. Why? So, I went to the Greek. It wasn’t there. Well, after I did some studying, I discovered that the word “homosexual” didn’t exist until somewhere during the last 150 years. It was not in an English translation of the Bible until the 1950’s. What was meant in Scripture, then, before the 1950’s, and before the modern concept of “homosexual” was developed during the last 150 years or so. What were the writers actually saying to the people they were writing to? What was God actually teaching the original hears of His word? How did the people truly understand these words, back then? How does that then apply to us, now? (exegesis and hermeneutics)

Then, I went to people who knew a whole lot more than I did concerning Biblical interpretation and theology. Now, I was still very much an American-Evangelical and had no intention of going to liberal sources – I didn’t think they had anything to say because they really didn’t believe in Scripture to begin with and because they really did not know Jesus, anyway (my presumptions and prejudices). I had bought the “Expositor’s Bible Commentary” (NIV) published by Zondervan. What I read in this trusted Evangelical commentary, that began with the perspective that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, was not what I had been lead to believe by the pastors and teachers of my past (and I had done a lot of reading and listening, already). The author of the “Romans” commentary, good Evangelical scholar that he is (or was, I don’t know whether he is still living or not), Everett F. Harrison, made an absolutely astounding statement, “’Because of this, God gave them over…’ Sexual deviation contains in itself a recompense, a punishment for the abandonment of God and his ways. This need not demand the conclusion that every homosexual follows that practice in deliberate rebellion against God’s prescribed order. The ‘gay’ façade is a thin veil for deep-seated frustration. The folly of homosexuality is proclaimed in its inability to reproduce the human species in keeping with the divine command (Gen. 1:28).” (Vol. 10, p.25) This shocked me, because he reverted to psychology to make his condemnation of homosexuality, not the “plain reading of scripture,” and then used a biological argument – reproduction – as another justification, connected to God’s command to multiply. Whether I understood him correctly at the time or not, this opened a whole host of other questions in my mind.

At that point, I began reading anything I could on the subject, both from the perspective that it was always and forever forbidden in all circumstances, to a more moderate position that homosexuality was part of the fall and some accommodation could be permitted since not everyone is given the gift of celibacy, to the unabashed support of homosexual sexual relationships. I could not, and still cannot, accept arguments from the perspective that Scripture is a human book of writings as people in antiquity tried to figure out their world and what it all meant. I believe the books of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation. So, while I did read some liberal theologians and scholars, with a grain of salt, I mostly read Evangelical and moderate scholarship. I have also read a lot about the subject from psychological, sociological, biological, physiological, anthropological, and historical perspectives.

Now, don’t forget, in all this, I am diligently praying for God to show me His Truth, to protect me from deception, and to help me humble myself in order to receive from the Holy Spirit. It makes no difference what I want to believe, and what I feel. God’s Truth is God’s Truth, regardless of anything pertaining to me! What I think is meaningless – God will be God and God’s ways are God’s.

I have read and continue to read from both perspectives. If I really want to know Truth, I have to be willing to say I am wrong and read from varying perspectives, else all I will do is gather around me those who I already agree with. That is not seeking Truth, that is seeking confirmation and consolation for what I already believe. That gets me, and all of us, nowhere.

I have read numerous commentaries, analysis of the Greek and Hebrew, the historical contexts, and so on, and books by scholars and common folks alike. For you information, here is a brief list of what I have read:

Advocates for rethinking the Tradition:
- What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality, by Daniel A, Helminiak
- Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, by John Boswell
- The New Testament and Homosexuality, by Robin Scroggs
- Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality, by Jack Rogers
- Homosexuality and Christian Faith, Edited by Walter Wink
- This Far By Grace, Bishop J. Neil Alexander
- Additional stuff by Smead, Sullivan, White, Besen, etc.

Advocates for maintain the traditional understanding:
- The Bible and Homosexual Practice, Robert A.J. Gagnon
- Scripture & Homosexuality, Marion L. Soards
- Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic, by Dr. Elizabeth R. Moberly
- Psychogenesis, by Dr. Elizabeth R. Moberly
- A Strong Delusion, Joe Dallas
- The Battle for Normality: A Guide for (Self-) Therapy for Homosexuality, Gerald J.M. Van Den Aardweb
- Strength in Weakness: Healing Sexual and Relational Brokenness, by Andrew Comiskey
- Additional stuff by Nicolosi, Cameron, Schmidt, Medinger, etc.

Two perspectives in one book:
Homosexuality and the Bible : Two Views, by Dan O. Via & Robert A.J. Gagnon

After reading and studying, after lots of praying and meditating on Scripture, after talking to lots of people, and yes – including personal experience – I came to believe that the arguments of those who advocate for a rethinking of the traditional notions of Biblical interpretation and application concerning homosexuality are stronger than those who call for retaining the traditional understandings. I could be wrong.

Thus, I think the way the Tradition has handled Biblical interpretation and application is wrong, and a rethinking is called for. The more I read the more I realize that more Evangelical scholars are beginning to say the same thing. Again, I’m not really interested in what “liberals” who do not believe in divine inspiration of Scripture have to say. I understand where they are coming from and can respect their position, but I disagree with their premise. I don’t think that the few pericopes traditionally used to support the anti-homosexual argument can sustain the weight of the argument, when Scripture is taken as a whole and when the verses are in context and when the world is regarded as it really is, and not as we demand it to be.

I could detail the arguments for and against homosexuality for each of the periopies from Leviticus to Jude, but that is so much more. Perhaps that is what you really want. Do the research.

I also understand that I could be wrong, and that is why I continue to read and engage with those who disagree with what I currently believe.

What I will assert as true and as fact is that there are faithful, God fearing, longing for Truth, born-again Christians on both sides of the issue. Simply because one calls for a re-examination of the Tradition does not mean one has rejected the authority of Scripture – patently false assumption. I will asset that there are secular, godless, hedonists who are homosexual and heterosexual. This group is not the same as those who desire to know God and to live god-centered lives, homosexuals or heterosexuals. To demand that all homosexuals and those who advocate for them insist that the Church accept hedonistic behavior is inaccurate (although examples of anything can be found – even to support an anything-goes ideology).

So, there you go, Truth Unites. I’m will make an assumption that his has not satisfied you, and I welcome continued questions, conversation, and challenge. I will say, however, that I have spent my life dealing with this issue. I do know a little bit about what I am talking about – the realities, the dangers, the fallacies, and the frailties. I don’t expect to change your mind, but what I do expect is honest exchange, and a bit of respect for the effort I have put into this whole issue. I also expect a bit of humility – all of us can be wrong, all of us will be wrong, all of us will not be privy to God’s complete Truth until we see Him face-to-face.

Let me know what you think and where we go from here.

comments? e-mail me

Monday, March 19, 2007

It can be hard

Every now and then the reality of life can come bounding forth and stand right before you, staring you in the eye, face-to-face.

One aspect of growing up gay within a tradition that is absolutely opposed to such a thing is the tremendous amount of energy and time spent trying to not be - trying to not be what you know inside you are, but everything externally tells you that you cannot be and are not. If one's faith is as important as one's ability and desire to love and be loved, then the conflict is compounded all the more.

There are still far too many kids growing up in households and communities where to admit that they are gay is so stressful and problematic, even dangerous. They cannot develop normally, in the sense of discovering who they may be compatible with, who they may want to be in relationship with, and then developing the emotional and interpersonal skills needed to maintain an honest, mutual, and mature intimate relationship.

I've watched a few episodes of this year's Real World on MTV. One of the cast members is a young guy who is gay and who is still trying to maintain his faith. It is hard in an environment like the Real World to begin with, but he has also been disowned by his family - parents, brother, sister. He was told he was not welcome to come home for Easter until he "stops living a sinful lifestyle." This kind of familial dysfunction is still common in this country, and is being perpetuated by the anti-gay crusade of the Religious Right.

One aspect that makes this whole situation so sad, aside from what it is doing to Davis, is that his family really believes that they do not live a "sinful lifestyle." They are so convinced that they are absolutely right and that the way they live their lives is absolutely the way God wants them to live. Their blindness, arrogance and hypocrisy is astounding. Davis has to grow up relationally without the help and encouragement of the primary source of strength - his family. My prayer is that his first source of strength is maintained - the relationship with the One who promises to never leave us or forsake us - unlike his temporal family.

I remember on the porch of the campus house of the campus ministry I belonged to as an undergrad. The guys would be on the porch watching the women go by, ogling them, and making comments. I used to get really pissed off because they were not controlling their lustful thoughts or feelings, like a good Christian is supposed to do – don’t objectify the ladies. I used to get all over them about it. I thought, "If I have to put forth this amount of energy to control, deny, and hide my own thoughts and feelings – even the legitimate ones - and will never be able to even talk about it to anyone, then by God you better start acting like you claim to be and stop being hypocrites."

Finally, in my early 30's, I reconciled by faith and my orientation. It took a while longer before I began to furtively start dating. I had to learn all the relationships stuff that most young guys learn in the teens and twenties. I was 15 years behind, and it still affects me. Young people like Davis, who may be disowned by their families, are at least able to begin the process of learning how to be in relationships and with whom they are compatible must earlier - to their emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

I am confronted from time-to-time, like this morning, with the reality of time wasted. So much time and energy expended in order to try to not be gay. The money spent on counseling. The hurt feelings of women in my life along the way (I constantly had women falling in love with me, and they couldn't understand why I just wasn't interested in them in that way. I was later told by a very kind older couple that I could not at all treat women like I wanted my sister to be treated, because if I did, they would fall for me. What's up with that? Anyway, it seems to be true.)

So many Christians are still doing all the ex-gay stuff, and the newly initiated are promised such grand things – freedom, hope, heterosexuality. Some of the promises are true, and some are a perpetuation of the leaders’ own prejudices. This isn’t from God, but from people who presume to speak for God. Those who have been “with the program” for a while realize that what these people promised God would do, God never promised. Too many of them then reject God and never integrate their faith and their orientation, rather than reject the false promises of people whose agenda is anti-gay.

It is a sad situation when the normal path of relational development for most people is blocked for so many gay young people. I think this is one of the reasons that promiscuity and relational immaturity is so common among gay men. As guys and girls who are Christian and gay become more comfortable with their orientations at an earlier age, they will be able to better integrate their faith and orientation. Hopefully, this will result in not doing the all too common thing - jettisoning their faith because they believe that God cannot love them and will not accommodate them in an intimate relationship with the one they love and long to be loved by. That is what they hear from their parents, their youth group, their church, and particularly from the Religious Right and their lackeys in government. That is what they are told God says in the Bible.

How much better things will be when this period of our history is over. When the realization that Scripture no more speaks to the reality of sexual orientation than it does about the reality of working on Wall Street. What it does speak to is how we are to relate to one another and to God, how we are to love God with everything we are and how we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. God does present a standard, and we as Christians bind ourselves to that standard, but we need to be diligent to understand what the standard is and what it means outside of our own prejudices and proclivities. If we don't, there will be too, too many young people who grow up in dire straights.

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my primary blog: hypersync

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What did Jesus actually say?

On a recent blogging expedition (Titusonenine), a commenter posted a series of scripture verses that he claimed proved that Jesus indeed spoke on the subject of homosexuality.

Most people who support the full inclusion of gay people in the Church today will argue that Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. While I agree with that, the conclusion that, then, scripture cannot be used as a contributor to the pro or anti-inclusion argument cannot be made.

My response will be first, and then I will include the verses the commenter used.

My response to Jim the Puritan (#29) -

Jim, the verses you quote are absolutely correct, but your assumption is that all forms of same-sex relationships fall within the definition of what is immoral, automatically. The verses themselves, and thus Jesus, say nothing specific about homosexuality. I disagree with you as you attempt to say that Jesus said anything about homosexuality as recorded in the Gospels of our Lord.

What many people are asking is why the assumption? Then, when we go to Scripture and in light of what has been learned about the homosexual condition over the last 100 years or so, they say that there has been a mistake in our very human interpretation of God's Holy Word with relation to homosexual people. They believe that a faithful biblical exegesis and hermeneutic of the few verses used to condemn all forms of same-sex relationships in light of all of Scripture cannot bear the weight of the argument against all forms of homosexual relationships. There has been a misinterpretation of Scripture, and the Tradition has supported this misinterpretation for a variety of reasons.

Even a growing number of Evangelical scholars are saying that there are great problems with the traditional interpretations, and many are changing their opinions. This isn't God’s Word changing - it remains the same always - but our human understanding of God's Holy Word. Is this the Holy Spirit casting new light on God's Word? Time will tell, but we need to remember Gamaliel's recommendation to the Sanhedrin as we work through these times.

Jim the Puritan posted this:

Jim the Puritan Says:
February 5th, 2007 at 1:29 pm

"I don't find anywhere in Scripture where Jesus is talking about homosexuality as a sin," says the Rev. Kim Smith King, senior pastor of North Decatur Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and co-moderator of More Light Presbyterians, a group supporting gay clergy.

Matthew 10:
14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Matthew 11:
22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.

Luke 10:
11 Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near. 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Luke 17:
28It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

I've never understood this assertion that Jesus didn't have a problem with homosexuality. If Jesus didn't have a problem with homosexuality, why did he repeatedly use it as the example of the results of sin?

And no, they were not destroyed because of "inhospitality." Every Jew then knew they were destroyed because of sexual perversion and immorality.

"In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire." Jude 1:7

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

'do not be'

I'm reading a book by James Alison, a British theologian in the 'Catholic' tradition, entitled Faith Beyond Resentment: fragments catholic and gay. Alison's approach to theology and Scripture, particularly related to how it is all actually lived out, amazes and challenges me. I heard him speak at last year's Trinity Institute. The one thing I truly appreciate about him is that he admits he could be wrong - and that fact can has significant consequences. In fact, that is one reason he converted to Roman Catholicism from British Evangelicalism - within the Catholic theologian make-up, there is the freedom to be wrong.

This quote comes from his personal experience in dealing with false accusations from some Roman church authorities as they tried to get him expelled from a theology teaching position in Brazil over his honesty about being gay and his calling upon the church to begin an honest and open conversation about this issue. He then recognized his own complicity in the "mechanisms" that lead the whole affair. (There was never any accusation of behavioral problems. He remained chaste. It all revolved around hearsay and the openness of his beliefs.) What follows is his reflection and change of mind and heart that came during a Jesuit retreat right after the incident. What he describes happening to him and his way of thinking and being can be applied to any of us, gay or straight, for it is the process of dying and of rebirth within God's way of being.

Here is a quote:

"Where denial, mendacity and cover up are forces which structure a reality, the search for honest conversation is, of itself, the worst from of militancy...

"Well, my reply, while formally correct, allowed me to hide from myself something which my various accusers had perceived perfectly clearly: that I was myself on a sort of crusade, that I had a zeal, and that this zeal of a prodigiously violent force, powered by a deep resentment. In fact, I was wanting to create for myself, taking advantage of the ecclesiastical structures which sustained me, a space of security and peace, of survival. Thus I hoped to avoid what I had seen happen to gay people in country after country: social marginalization, destruction of life projects, emotional and spiritual annihilation. That is to say, my brave discourse was a mask which hid from me my absolute cowardice of soul, for I was not prepared to identify myself fully with that reality, which I knew to be mine, with all its consequences. At root, I myself believe that God was on the side of ecclesiastical violence directed at gay people, and couldn't believe that God loves us just as we are. The profound 'do not be' which the social and ecclesiastical voice speaks to us, and which forms the soul of so many gay people, was profoundly rooted in my own being, so that, au fond I felt myself damned. In my violent zeal I was fighting so that the ecclesiastical structure might speak to me a 'Yes', a 'Flourish, son', precisely because I feared that, should I stand alone before God, God himself would be part of the 'do not be'. Thus I was absolutely dependent on the same mechanism against which I was fighting. Hiding from myself the fact of having despaired of God, I wanted to manipulate the ecclesiastical structure so that it might give me a 'self', that it might speak to me a 'Yes' at a level of profundity of which the ecclesiastic structure, like any human structure, is incapable. For the 'Yes' which creates and recreates the 'self' of son, only God can pronounce. In this I discovered myself to be an idolater. I had been wanting to negotiate my survival in the midst of violent structures, and negotiation in the midst of violent structures can only be done by violence. The non-violent, the blessed of the gospels, simply suffer violence and parish, either physically or morally...

"And then, at root, what began this whole process of beginning to untie myself from the idols I had so assiduously cultivated, what I had never dared to image, the profound 'Yes' of God, the 'Yes' spoken to the little gay boy who had despaired of ever hearing it. And there, indeed, I found myself absolutely caught, because this 'Yes' does not take the form of a pretty consolation for a spoiled child. Rather, from the moment it reached me, the whole psychological and mental structure by which I had built myself up over all the previous years began to enter into a complete collapse. For the whole structure was based on the presupposition of a 'No' at the center of my being, and because of that, of the need to wage a violent war so as to cover up a fathomless hole. The 'I', the 'self' of the child of God, is born in the midst of the ruins of repeated idolatry...

"But it was exactly this that, at last, I was learning. [from Col. 3:1-3] The whole of my previous life had been marked by an absolute refusal to die."

Oh, if we all would be willing to die to self and to die to the systems of this world, and to allow God to bring rebirth and renewal to our souls, to our ways of being, to our voices and lives, we might truly be able to change the world - or at least be a sweet smelling fragrance to the stench of a pain-filled and dying world.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I went to ex-gaywatch's website to see how the whole Foley issue was being addressed, and I came across this new report written by Jim Burroway and published on Turtle Box Bulletin.

From the website:
The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths is a parody. It was modeled after various pamphlets, books, CDs and videos produced by Agape Press, the American Family Association, Americans for Truth, the Center for Reclaiming America, Concerned Women for America, the Corporate Research Council, Exodus, the Family Research Council, the Family Research Institute, Focus on the Family, Ignatius Press, the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), Renew America, the Traditional Values Coalition, World Net Daily, and so many other organizations, publishers and authors too numerous to mention.

He spent the last year or so investigating how the Religious Right uses their "research" to campaign against gay people. He wondered what might result if he used the same processes and methods of "research" the Religious Right uses to present their "scientific findings" against gays and applied them to straights. He wrote a fairly extensive report in pdf format entitled, "The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing the Myths," playing off similar titles used by the Religious Right supposedly exposing the "homosexual agenda" to subvert the American family, to destroy marriage, to take away the rights of Christians, and bring down Western Civilization.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Trying to figure it all out...

I'm reading a book entitled "Tricky Part," an autobiography by a guy who was molested by a camp counselor for three years while in his early adolescence.

How can anyone expect someone to grow up with a well-adjusted and hopefully sense of self when they are so abused. Considering an even wider berth, how can society expect those who struggle with their sexual orientation to grow-up with a well-adjusted sense of self and act without any dysfunction when they hear all their lives that they are sick, sinful, evil, dysfunctional, intrinsically disordered, unable to form long-lasting relationships, obsessed with sex, unable to be emotionally well-balanced, etc.? They cannot. It takes a yeoman’s efforts to overcome all the crap that is internalized. No wonder there is so much dysfunction among so many gay people.

For myself, having to wait until my early thirties to test the waters and consider the possibility of a relationship. For me, now, still trying to figure out this relationship thing - what "normal" guys learn in their teens and early twenties. I'm too old for this, I think. I should know how to navigate through all this stuff, I think. I should not be so confused and conflicted, I think. Oh well - this is the reality within which I live.

The answer is not trying to convince them that their homosexuality is the cause of all their problems, and that if they accept Jesus He will change them into heterosexuals and all the problems will be solved. It just doesn't work that way. How do I know? From personal experience and the testimony of those who have gone through the programs and the struggles.

The answer begins by presenting a positive and healthful alternative to the prevailing sub-culture.

comments? e-mail me
I'm reading a book entitled "Tricky Part," an autobiography by a guy who was molested by a camp counselor for three years while in his early adolescence.

How can anyone expect someone to grow up with a well-adjusted and hopefully sense of self when they are so abused. Considering an even wider burth, how can society expect those who struggle with their sexual orienatation to grow-up with a well-adjusted sense of self and act without any disfunction when they hear all their lives that they are sick, sinful, evil, disfunctional, intrinsically disordered, unable to form long-lasting relationships, obsessed with sex, unable to be emotionally well-balanced, etc.? They cannot. It takes a yoman's efforts to overcome all the crap that is internalized. No wonder there is so much disfunction among so many gay people.

For myself, having to wait until my early thirties to test the waters and consider the possibility of a relationship. For me, now, still trying to figure out this relationship thing - what "normal" guys learn in their teens and early twenties. I'm too old for this, I think. I should know how to navigate through all this stuff, I think. I should not be so confused and conflicted, I think. Oh well - this is the reality within which I live.

The answer is not trying to convince them that their homosexuality is the cause of all their problems, and that if they accept Jesus He will change them into heterosexuals and all the problems will be solved. It just doesn't work that way. How do I know? From personal experience and the testimony of those who have gone through the programs and the struggles.

The answer begins by presenting a positive and heathful alternative to the prevailing sub-culture.

comments? e-mail me

Monday, June 26, 2006

New Canadian Studies - Biological element, again

I just read the report of this new study results.

Men with older brothers more likely to be gay

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Having several older brothers increases the likelihood of a man being gay, a finding researchers say adds weight to the idea that there is a biological basis for sexual orientation.

"It's likely to be a prenatal effect," said Anthony F. Bogaert of Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, "This and other studies suggest that there is probably a biological basis for" homosexuality.

S. Marc Breedlove of Michigan State University said the finding "absolutely" confirms a physical basis.

"Anybody's first guess would have been that the older brothers were having an effect socially, but this data doesn't support that," Breedlove said in a telephone interview.

The only link between the brothers is the mother and so the effect has to be through the mother, especially since stepbrothers didn't have the effect, said Breedlove, who was not part of the research.

Bogaert studied four groups of Canadian men, a total of 944 people, analyzing the number of brothers and sisters each had, whether or not they lived with those siblings and whether the siblings were related by blood or adopted.

He reports in a paper appearing in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences
that having several biological older brothers increased the chance of a man being gay.

It's an effect that can be detected with one older brother and becomes stronger with three or four or more, Bogaert said in a telephone interview.

But, he added, this needs to be looked at in context of the overall rate of homosexuality in men, which he suggested is about 3 percent. With several older brothers the rate may increase from 3 percent to 5 percent, he said, but that still means 95 percent of men with several older brothers are heterosexual.

The effect of birth order on male homosexuality has been reported previously but Bogaert's work is the first designed to rule out social or environmental effects.

Bogaert said he concluded the effect was biological by comparing men with biological brothers to those with brothers to whom they were not biologically related.

The increase in the likelihood of being gay was seen only in those whose brothers had the same mothers, whether they were raised together or not, he said.

Men raised with several older step- or adopted brothers do not have an increased chance of being gay.

"So what that means is that the environment a person is raised in really makes not much difference," he said.

What makes a difference, he said, is having older brothers who shared the same womb and gestational experience, suggesting the difference is because of "some sort of prenatal factor."

One possibility, he suggests, is a maternal immune response to succeeding male fetuses. The mother may react to a male fetus as foreign but not to a female fetus because the mother is also female.

It might be like the maternal immune response that can occur when a mother has Rh-negative blood but her fetus has Rh-positive blood. Without treatment, the mother can develop antibodies that may attack the fetus during future pregnancies.

Whether that's what is happening remains to be seen, but it is a provocative hypothesis, said a commentary by Breedlove, David A. Puts and Cynthia L. Jordan, all of Michigan State.

The research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

It is what it is...

A heterosexual who is in a relationship with someone of the opposite-gender is a heterosexual

A heterosexual who is in a relationship with someone of the same-gender is a heterosexual who is acting against his/her orientation (nature?), but is still a heterosexual

A heterosexual who is celibate is one who is celibate, but still a heterosexual

A homosexual who is in a relationship with someone of the same-gender is a homosexual

A homosexual who is in a relationship with someone of the opposite-gender is a homosexual acting against his/her orientation (nature?), but is still a homosexual

A homosexual who is celibate is one who is celibate, but still a homosexual

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sad but True

One of the sad points of growing up while trying to deal with the gay issue in my generation and from my part of the country is that we must go through the normal relationship discovery and learning later in life, rather than in the teens and early twenties like most straight people.

This is changing for many younger people. Good for them. There still are, however, many young gay guys and gals who struggle mightily to reconcile their orientation and their otherwise "normal" lives, especially for those who take their faith seriously.

I did not reconcile the different sides of my life until my early thirties. Before then, there were struggles but for the most part life was good. By my early thirties, however, I realized that I was not changing and something had to give. Old ways gave, but not my faith, not really my sense of self, just how I looked at things. So, in my early thirties I began the process of discovering who I am compatible with, how to navigate through the relationship maze, how to recognize when it is time to say "enough," and how to really pay attention to all those red-flags that pop up and are too easily ignored or explained away.

Too many of us are in this kind of situation. Too many of us are not very good at relationships because of it. This can explain, to a degree, why so many gay relationships are not long-lasting. There are plenty of other explanations, but this is one of the big ones, if we think about it. We need to learn how to court one another once again (well, actually, in the first place).

So, in most other areas of our lives we are productive and mature, ready to competently swim through life. Then, such angst over the desire to love and be loved - how does it happen? The sub-culture does not help because of its over-sexualized nature - negating much of the common good of faithful relationships. The movement for marriage has mitigated this tendency, and finally those who truly do want a conventional life are being heard above the circuit-party bimbo-boy fray that gets most of the attention.

Now, if only the Religious Right...

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Arguments

I'm reading N.T. Wright's "The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture" right now. A wonderful book.

You know, it can be fairly easy to go through the few and various verses that are used to condemn all forms of same-sex relationship and present a rational and faithful interpretation that does not come to the same conclusion, to the point where the thread used to tie them all together to sustain the traditional condemnation of all forms of same-sex relationship is frayed beyond its ability to hold up such an interpretation.

For example, one of the favorite arguments used to support the use of the Leviticus condemnation is that while the ceremonial and dietary laws are put aside for Christians, the moral law is not. N.T. Wright decimates that argument (that we Christians are somehow still under this part of the Levitical Code - at least the part that seems to speak to homosexuality) from pages 54-58. I've often wondered how anyone can read Galatians and Hebrews and still make the argument that Leviticus 18:22; 20:13 is binding for Christians today.

New purpose, same issue

I've been thinking a lot lately about my primary blog and the stuff that I post on it. It really is generic. Ever since I started to journal online, I've wrestled with how open to be and how much to share.

I think I may use this weblog to be frank about my continued struggle with the issues of homosexuality and the Christian faith.

From the start, I want to say that after years of struggle, study, listening, and seeking counsel, I came to the conclusion years ago that the way the Church universal handles this issue is not correct. I've come to the conclusion that under an ethic that God established for both gay and straight people, that a relationship between two people of the same sex does not violate God's permissive will.

For the beginning of my adult life, I accept the traditional interpretation of the homosexual issue by the Church. I bought into the ex-gay ideology and methodologies and advocated for their positions. I lived by it, and you know I believed it.

It wasn't until I had to admit to myself that nothing was changing. I was not idolatrous. I was not worshiping the created over the creator. I was fulfilling some kind of lust-driven mania. I was not changing. I spent a great deal of time reviewing material from both sides of the issue and came to the conclusion that the way the issue is handled and has been handled is wrong. The arguments that advocate for same-sex relationships within a Christian context are stronger than those that prohibit any such expression. I just do. And, I think more and more people are coming to that conclusion, no matter how loud the Religious Right wants to shout and demand conformity to their agenda and beliefs.

So, I may post here more often, but perhaps not.

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Friday, January 07, 2005


I've been using another blog software package of late - Moveable Type. I have done very little posting to this particular blog, and I don't know that I will again.

You can read current posts at my hypersync weblog. Moveable Type has its disadvantages as well! Or, you can take a gander at my whole website.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Broken Communion

St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio, which has removed the "Episcopal Church" from their signs, is heading the AAC chapter in the Diocese of Ohio. This webpage shows which Anglican provinces have declared either "broken" or "impaired" communion the US Church.

Frankly, there are far fewer than I had anticipated. The AAC and all the dissenting people make it seem as if ALL the Anglican Communion, except maybe Canada and Southern Africa, has repudiated the U.S. Church. From these statistics, it just is not so!

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I wonder...

I was talking to Father Cullen, the Rector of my field-placement parish. We were talking about the conservatives and liberals, etc. He noticed that the perspective of some liberals is to write stacks of pages of exegesis in an attempt to find whatever loop-hole can be found to justify doing this or that thing, or not doing something. This may be the case for some, even many, but all I can say for myself is that I desire to know the truth, not to justify a behavior.

Sometimes I wonder whether all these attempts to justify homosexual behavior, at least according to the rational of some, is simply an attempt to find a loophole to justify the behavior of some rather than to see the greater good in God's way. Or, as Augustine might say in Free Choice and the Will: "we must order our lives according to how things are." We cannot demand that the world change to meet our own desires. If we try, then we are worshiping the creature rather than the creator, which cannot bring peace and happiness because we are acting against how things really are. (Of course, the same charge can be levied against the prohibitionists as they try to persuade people that God is in the business of healing homosexuals and changing them into what God originally intended - heterosexuals.) Augustine also stresses that morality isn't a code of conduct, but the method/process we go through internally as we make decisions, which speaks against much of the Legalistic Righteousness that is passing for Evangelical/Fundamentalist ideas of morality.

Are we practicing Natural Law, according to Aquinas? Are we striving to conform ourselves to and participate with God in Eternal Law? Are we attempting to implement Natural Law into Human Law as we order our society? Hum.....

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This is probably quite naive of me, but I honestly believe there should be a return to the word "homophile" to describe those who have an affectual or sexual desire for the same-sex.

This issue needs to be recast away from "sex" and to what we are truly discussing - the natural and God given desire and need to love and be loved, to know and be known. It is too easy for the anti-homosexual people to continue to cast the debate around sexual behavior only. As in heterosexual couples, sex will be an aspect, but not the end-all of their relationship.

I agree that many gay people are obsessed with sex and preoccupied with things pertaining to sex, but again I do not believe those people represent a majority. It just hasn't born out in my experience. The issues are the same despite what orientation exists within anyone.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Church History

Professor Dr. Bruce Mullin is a phenomenal lecturer. I love Church History, but whenever class is over I am simply brain dead. I want to get down everything he says.

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If I am honest...

For quite some time now, I have said I am seeking Truth. I am willing to go wherever that quest leads me.

I believe Truth begins with God (the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Ruth, and Naomi... Mary and the Apostles). Walter Bouman, retired Systematic Theology professor at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, says that God is whoever has the final word. This is true, after all if the aforementioned God is not the true God, than Judaism and Christianity are false, as well as Islam. Bouman believes Christ had the final word - the victory over sin and death. When all is said and done, the jury is still out, no matter how strenuously I want to claim or declare anything. By faith, I believe in the God of the Nicene and Apostles creeds. By faith...

I believe that the Holy Bible, Hebrew and Christian testaments together, is the revelation of God to humanity, God's creation. I believe scripture contains all that humanity needs for salvation and a peaceable life - the truths of scripture speak to the heart - the motivations, the healing available, etc. In scripture is the Truth for our lives lived here on this earth and the means of life everlasting. (The Bible is not a history book, although it contains history. The Bible is not a science book. The Bible is not an anthropologist tomb, although it is full of anthropological stuff, etc.)

If I am consistent with past claims, I have to consider the arguments of reasoned people who say homosexuality is contrary to God's will and way according to scripture. I have moved from 'con' to 'pro' according to what I thought was the stronger argument. Has the strength of one argument over the other changed? I wonder...

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What makes Ethics Christian

Christian Ethics today:
- In the public sphere, too often it is a matter of doing "what is right" - acting on Christian principles, even the basic pagan virtues of Plato and Aristotle.

- For Luther and Calvin, however, drawing from Augustine, it is always a matter of acting out of faith! This is ultimately what makes ethics, Christian.

- In Christian ethics, we're not just trying to find a way to do good; it is not a philosophical system. Rather, we're trying to find a way to be faithful, and that is the way to goodness. God is good, and has related himself personally to us in Christ.

- In Augustine and Aquinas: We live into our faith, being faithful first and discovering our true selves in God.

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Monday, March 22, 2004


I have been spending too much time and exerting too much energy attempting to find a middle way for dealing with those on the accommodationist side and those on the prohibitionist side of the gay and Christian issue. Actually being in the middle of the issue (according to me, and certainly not according to stringent prohibitionists), I see validity on both sides of the issue, especially when using the Anglican three legged stool model. I have made a decision according to which side of the line I fall, but I am open to where ever truth leads me. I think, at least for now, it is virtually impossible for us to have civil conversation. The polarization is so complete that there are few willing to consider the their opponent's' perspective. This is truly a masterstroke of Satan. Let the killing begin, just like in medieval times!

I've got to refocus on classes, life in general, and let go of this. It is not up to me to attempt to bring all sides together in order for there to be a least a willingness to understand. Agree to disagree, but stop all this foolishness.

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Sunday, March 21, 2004

I have been using MoveableType weblogging system for the past two months. It seems my website host, where my MoveableType database was located, had a server failure and at the same time a failure of its backup system. That means I have lost two months of journal entries in my weblog. I truly regret this - a lot of stuff was written these past two months.

So, I back with Blogger.

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Saturday, March 13, 2004

I wonder why I am continually amazed at what the American, politicized, anti-gay Christian Religious Right propaganda machine churns out for public consumption, but I am. It is so disturbing to see what these people claim is God’s will and God’s way. They continually bear false-witness against their neighbor (gay people and others), they do not “love the sinner” despite their continued claims to the contrary. C.S. Lewis writes, “You start being 'kind' to people before you have considered their rights, and then force upon them supposed kindnesses which they in fact had a right to refuse, and finally kindnesses which no one but you will recognize as kindnesses and which the recipient will feel as abominable cruelties.”

In this article below from Focus on the Family, they claim that if the U.N. includes homosexuals as a class of people that can expect to be treated to the same human-rights as the rest of the human population, somehow we are inviting everything from “bestiality to pedophilia.” The implication is that “pro-homosexual” groups are calling for the right to practice everything from “bestiality to pedophilia.” This is not true and the Religious Right knows it. They are bearing false-witness and they know it. The end justifies the means and no matter how immoral they act, it is justified to accomplish their goals. They wrongly attribute their actions to God’s will and defame Christ in the process. They are on a 21st century witch hunt and nothing will deter them, until of course their cause is laid bare and they are made irrelevant (not because God is made irrelevant, which will be their claim, but because their hypocrisy and lunacy in the name of God becomes so apparent).

Focus on the Family is calling on their members to e-mail, call, write, and pressure member delegates from other countries to do Focus’ bidding to deny homosexuals equal treatment under law worldwide. The decry the Supreme Court for referencing judicial precedent in Europe concerning the Texas sodomy case, yet they willingly advocate that Rightwing Christian Americans attempt to force their will upon the rest of the world. It is hypocrisy. It is mean-spiritedness. They means by which they are attempting to institute their perspective in law and culture is not the way of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

U.N. Considers Sexual Orientation as 'Human Right'
by Gary Schneeberger, editor

SUMMARY: Your help is needed to prevent pro-homosexual forces from paving the way for everything from bestiality
to pedophilia as "the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family."

Pro-homosexual groups from around the globe are pushing the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to declare
sexual orientation an international human right -- and your input may be key to thwarting their plans.

The Commission, made up of 53 member nations, will begin meeting Monday and continue for the next six weeks, at some point taking up a resolution proposed by Brazil that "sexual orientation" be added to "the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family."

Brazil pitched a similar resolution last year, but Egypt took the lead in opposing it, leading to a postponement until this year.

Thomas Jacobson, a Focus on the Family liaison to the United Nations, said the measure must again be delayed -- or defeated -- to preserve the sanctity of marriage and the family worldwide.

"If this resolution passes and becomes international policy, a special U.N. adviser will be appointed to monitor nations for compliance," Jacobson explained. "Nations will be pressured to make 'sexual orientation' a human right and add it to their non-discrimination statutes.

"We can see the implications by looking at nations that have already done so. The Swedes have already lost their freedom of speech and freedom of religion -- two pastors were arrested last year for, in their own churches, reading Scripture and saying homosexuality was wrong."

Equally troubling, Jacobson added, is that nowhere is the phrase "sexual orientation" defined in the resolution or any other U.N. document.

"Because of this," he said, "any type of so-called sexual orientation could be viewed as a 'human right': homosexuality, bisexuality, pedophilia, transgenderism, voyeurism, sadism, bestiality, etc."

To prevent that from happening, pro-family voices must be heard on the issue.

"While U.S. citizens are accustomed to influencing government officials through voting, letters, phone calls and e-mails, this is not true in the vast majority of nations," Jacobson said. "A few hundred e-mails or faxes to a country's mission in New York City could have a profound impact, and could greatly encourage the officials to take a strong stand for what they already know is right."

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Saturday, January 24, 2004

I have been testing Movable Type software for blogging, basically repeating what I post here. As of right now, I am only updating the Movable Type blog on a temporary basis (or maybe permanent basis??). Click here for the current version of this particular blog. Thanks.

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Monday, January 19, 2004

I got this from Andrew Sullivan's blog. It is very poignant without being nasty.
It is the winner of advertisement competition.

I remember the WR Grace Company putting together a series of ads during the Reagan administration making a very similar point. Grace's ads were much darker. Set in the near future, they showed the younger generations in near destitution along the lines of 'Mad-Max' or '1984' putting on trial the elder generation for their irresponsible and greedy spending spree that plunged the economy and nation into ruin. The ads never ran because the television powers that were considered them too extreme. It seemed their premise would not come to pass when Clinton came into office and the deficits where eliminated. This occurred under a Democratic administration, no less. So, here we are under Bush, a Republican, and deficit spending is back in a rampage.

Yes, the situations between Reagan tenure and Bush's are different, but the fact is that we have returned to fiscally immoral deficit spending without restraint, thus the new round of commercials. It seems for me, considering myself a 'progressive-conservative,' Bush has turned into a Republican I cannot support.

(Watch all the winning entries.)

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Sunday, January 18, 2004

Here is a great article written in Slate: Where Anglicans Fear To Tread

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My experiences in a theologically liberal setting with a strong and ancient tradition, I can't help but be changed - a progression both gradual and somewhat imperceptible. It is one thing to disagree with another or others concerning issues, ideas, or theories of all types, but another thing entirely to deny Christ in the other or others when I might hold a differing opinion.

We are seeking God. God is beyond our understanding, yet God has finagled a way so that we can know Him. We can never fully understand, yet we can know!

By the word of their testimony - they seek God; seek to understand God and the world. Their actions (for the most part, recognizing we humans are always fallible and always prone to mistakes) are generally consistent with their words. I cannot deny Christ in them; I cannot deny the Holy Spirit working within them to conform their lives to the image of Christ - freedom, peace, joy, and prosperity of the soul. I may think they are dead wrong and at this point in their understanding dangerous to the cause of Christ, but I cannot deny Christ in them! I cannot, even though they deny Christ in me.

I can ask where their passions lie! "Linking Isaiah's allegory with our Lord's vine and branches metaphor in tonight's gospel, the warning is clear: you and I put ourselves in great danger when we abide in any other vine - whether person, issue, tradition, or theological conviction - as the source of our identity and purpose. There is only one vine in which to abide - our Lord." (The Rev'd. Fred Anderson, pastor of the Madison Ave. Presbyterian Church, preacher for the William Reed Huntington Memorial Eucharist, September 2003) He spoke of many wild grapes that have been produced by the Church throughout history. Where does my passion lie? Within what vine do I abide? Within which do you? "Our disunity has produced more than simply bad wine." Within the Episcopal Church and within Anglicanism, much bad wine is being produced, many wild grapes are growing. We are abiding in vines of theology, pride, power, "purity," polity, piety, Biblicism, idolatry, etc. We are denying Christ in others from whom we hear their words of testimony and see the fruit of their lives and their claim of life in Christ. Anderson refers to his first professor of Ecumenics, as he touches on the issues that continue to divide us, especially at this time concern human sexuality, "President McCord regularly warned students, 'If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always chose heresy. For as a heretic you are only guilty of a wrong opinion. As a schismatic, you have torn and divided the Body of Christ. Choose heresy every time!'"

Here is a profound change in me! I would have always chosen against heresy (maybe not for schism per-say, but for expulsion) and would have denied Christ in others who did not hold a generally Evangelical theology. Now, I cannot deny Christ to others or in others with whom I disagree (who disagree with a certain theological vain), even though I may consider them heretics. I have moved from choosing a particular take on "purity of doctrine" ending is schism (expulsion), to choosing heresy. I see in part and I know in part, so who am I to judge others to the point of denying Christ in them when their words and deeds show a seeking after the things of Christ, a longing and desire for the Way of Christ. I may think they are dead wrong, and I may think their current ways of thinking or doing are dangerous to the cause of Christ, but it is not my prerogative to decide whether they do or do not have Christ!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Here is a good word:

malversation: n Dishonest or unethical conduct by somebody in a professional position or public office, often involving bribery, extortion, or embezzlement (formal).

Could this also be applied to Christians who misrepresent the facts - distortion - to support their own ends?

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I find the following article from CitizenLink concerning a challenge from media critic Brent Bozell to Tom Brokau (NBC News anchor) to put his money where his mouth is concerning proof of media liberal bias interesting, not because of the charge or the network's denial of such bias, but because of the author's (Stuart Shepard) implication that bias is only one way - liberal. All one has to do is read the CitizenLink updates, or much of anything coming from the "pro-family"/Religious Right camp, to know that conservatives are as biased in their reporting as liberals. There are media outlets, both liberal and conservative, that do a better job in their attempts to be unbiased than others do, but it is not about virtuous conservatives battling against all the evil liberals.

The sad thing, as I see it, is that those who claim to represent Christ are as enmeshed in the manipulation of facts and the misrepresentation of issues and people's words and beliefs than is secular media. If we are to be a better example, then we must report truthfully - "just the facts, ma’am." We must recognize and admit our own biases and do the best we can to safeguard that we do not fall into the same trap. The ends do not justify the means!

Here is the article:

"Media Critic Throws Down Million-Dollar Gauntlet
by Stuart Shepard, correspondent

SUMMARY: Media watchdog Brent Bozell is betting a million dollars the media really are biased.

Conservative media watchdog L. Brent Bozell III does more than just take issue with Tom Brokaw's recent denial of media bias. He has delivered a substantial challenge to the NBC News anchor.

Brokaw said in a recent interview in the Columbia Journalism Review that he sees no liberal bias in the media, criticizing Bozell in the process.

"Brokaw said what he gets tired of is Brent Bozell trying to make these 'fine legal points everywhere, every day,' " said Tim Graham, director of media analysis for Bozell's Media Research Center (MRC).

So Graham said his boss decided to offer Brokaw a million-dollar challenge: Assemble an objective panel to judge what MRC has documented on NBC.

In other words, Graham said: "Put your money where your mouth is."

One MRC example of NBC's bias: The network connected the Beltway sniper to President Bush, through the head of the company that made the sniper's gun.

Specifically, Brokaw stated, though it had absolutely no bearing on the shootings: "Richard Dyke was finance chairman for the state of Maine for George W. Bush's campaign."

Graham, meanwhile, said if the independent panel finds no bias, Bozell will send $1 million dollars to Brokaw's favorite charity. But if there is bias, Brokaw would have to give a million to the nonprofit Media Research Center.

CitizenLink Editor Gary Schneeberger, who spent 14 years working for daily newspapers, confessed that his liberal ideals before coming to Christ in 1997 led him to slant his share of stories. And it's also given him insight into how everyday Americans can combat bias in their local media without having to risk a million dollars.

"The way to do it isn't to write (editors and news directors) letters and call them up and scream at them that they're liberal," Schneeberger said.

Instead, he explained, pro-family conservatives must show newspapers and broadcasters specific examples of their bias and argue for fairness.

"What we want," he said, "is the opportunity for our best arguments, and our best spokespeople, to be out there making a case."

NBC did not answer requests for an interview on this topic. MRC, meanwhile, said it has not heard back from Brokaw, either."

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Saturday, January 10, 2004

I know I need to improve my writing skills - grammar, spelling, thought progression, and logic, etc. - so I'll write as I attempt to do so. As I encounter this stuff more and more, my need to articulately and competently deal with the issue grows, especially as I engage people like the conservative pastor on my trip back to New York. I am finding that it isn't just me figuring things out for myself any longer, but I have to be concerned with the issues as they affect other people. Just some comments concerning another piece written in the latest Citizen Link form Focus on the Family.

Statistics Show Declining Interest in Civil Unions
by Stuart Shepard, correspondent

Interest in Vermont same-sex civil unions is on the decline, and those numbers provide some insight into what the homosexual lobby's attack on marriage is really all about.

The number of civil unions in Vermont has dropped steadily since they were first offered in 2001. In fact, of the gay couples in that state that identified themselves to the 2000 Census -- a number most would agree is an undercount -- fewer than half applied for a civil union.

How does the decline provide insight the Religious Right’s perceived gay attack on marriage? What is the correlation? They say that a drop in applications for civil-unions equals a secret gay plan to destroy marriage. How do they draw this conclusion, except to grasp at anything – anything – in an attempt to prove their unfounded theory.

Another valid interpretation can be that the drop of applications after the initial offerings simply reflects the well documented and well reported fact that many gays do not find it necessary to receive a piece of paper from the government to validate their mutual commitment to one another. Those who wanted a state sanction and the rights and responsibilities provided, did so and continue to do so. The attitude to forgo state sanction is reflected in secular society in general – there are more and more straight people opting out of “marriage” as a legally binding contract issued by the state and as a sanctioned blessing from the Church.

"The homosexual lifestyle is about sexual adventure," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "I'm beginning to see that they're not interested in obtaining marriage for the purpose of monogamy and long-term commitment.

The relative lack of interest, he added, reveals the underlying goal is not attaining marriage, but rather destroying the traditional marriage culture.

It is true that many straight people are losing interest in state sanction and Church blessing to solemnize their mutual relationships. It is also true that many homosexuals do not believe state sanction or Church blessing is necessary to solemnize their relationships. That does not prove at all that the underlying goal of either group is the destruction of marriage, however. To draw that kind of conclusion is manipulative and disingenuous – not the kind of thing a Christian organization should do. Frankly, it is a lie.

It is also true that many men are sexually adventurous, and that includes many gay men. After working with college students 20 years, I can tell you that straight guys are as interested in and seek out sex on par with any gay guy, although straight men may simply not have the same opportunities. I want to stress, however, that there is a big difference between the attitudes of secular men and Christian men, students or otherwise, gay or straight. Being gay to some is about being as sexually adventurous and irresponsible as possible, but I can levy the same charge towards many straight men how view being a man in the same way. Again, that does not mean that either groups seek the destruction of marriage – it is more a live-and-let-live attitude.

"Clearly, this is going to be a defining moment for America and for all of Western civilization," Perkins said. "Will we defend the historical, traditional and biblical view of marriage and family, or will it pass into the shadows of history?"

I believe the Religious Right’s battle against gay marriage is not a battle for the ‘institution of marriage,’ which is in terrible trouble within the Evangelical and Fundamentalist communities. It is a battle to use many gay people’s desire for marriage as a scapegoat – they cannot confront the primary threat to heterosexual marriage because too many Evangelicals/Fundamentalists participate in the actual problems themselves, plain and simple. This is a convenient smokescreen to mask their drive to stamp out homosexuality. They create fear and hysteria for their own purposes. I have no problem with Christians defending a traditional image of marriage, but the logical conclusion of their opposition does not mean that gay people must be excluded from the same responsibilities and privileges that come with state-sanctioned heterosexual marriage. Of course, I believe it can be shown that their underlying goal is control – of politics, media, Christianity, and culture. If fits perfectly with Dominion Theology/Christian Reconstructionism (read about this perspective), to varying degrees.
The people of Focus on the Family have shown themselves so willing to distort information to meet their own purposes that I cannot take anything they say as being truthful – have to take everything with a grain of salt. It is shameful for an organization that claims to represent Christ to do such things. They claim for themselves the idea that the end result justifies all means of accomplishing their goals - the end justifies the means. That is not of Christ, who claims that the process of getting to the goal is more important than accomplishing the goal.

Our goal as Christians should not simply be heaven by and by when we die. Our goal is to live life here and now in each moment as God would have us live according to the principles of Jesus Christ. If we do that, then the end will take care of itself. When we stand before God, he is not going say 'go on because you are standing before me,' he will say 'go on’ according to his judgment as to whether we accepted the gift of grace through Jesus Christ.

When we put the end result ahead of the process (the end justifies the means), we begin doing exactly what Focus on the Family (and many other Religious Rights groups) are doing - distorting truth and information in order to persuade (really deceive) citizens into supporting their position, which in this case is a theocratic system in accordance to their definitions. The end result, actually, will be the defamation of Christ and a public that will no longer give them any type of consideration because of their lies and distortions.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

In Focus on the Family's latest CitizenUpdate e-mail newsletter, there has been a slight but I think significant shift in their verbiage dealing with gay-marriage. I'm sure the shift in wording is only for Massachusetts because polls have show that a slight majority is in favor of at least civil-unions, with all the rights and responsibilities of straight-marriage, or actual gay-marriage. If a majority of people support the Supreme Judicial Courts ruling, they have to change the way the present their message.

"Coalition Launched to Defend Marriage in Massachusetts

Organizations from across Massachusetts and the nation,
including Focus on the Family, have joined forces to
advocate for the unique value of one-man, one-woman
in the Commonwealth." (emphasis mine)

They are now emphasizing the "unique value" of straight-marriage, rather than their far more harsh, exclusive, and demeaning demand that we all accept the depravity and socially-destructive idea of gay-marriage.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I am so excited about the success of the latest NASA Mars rover! Simply incredible photos of the planet, and more to come.

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This from the House of Bishops/House of Deputies listserv. It is a portion of a sermon concerning the rise of Fundamentalism in the early part of the 20th century.


Shall the Fundamentalists Win?
Harry Emerson Fosdic

This sermon was preached in First Presbyterian Church, New York City, May 21, 1922. Dr. Fosdick sought understanding by both liberals and conservatives, but he was bitterly attacked by the fundamentalists, led by William Jennings Bryan. The ensuing controversy made Fosdick a world figure. To an entire generation he pointed the way past a then conventional orthodoxy to a faith that the modern mind could accept with conviction and joy.

NB: A portion of this sermon is reprinted below. For the full text, please click on the email address above.

"This morning we are to think of the Fundamentalist controversy Which threatens to divide the American churches, as though already they were not sufficiently split and riven. A scene, suggestive for our thought, is depicted in the fifth chapter of the book of the Acts, where the Jewish leaders hale before them Peter and other of the apostles because they have been preaching Jesus as the Messiah. Moreover, the Jewish leaders propose to slay them, when in opposition Gamaliel speaks: "Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

One could easily let his imagination play over this scene and could wonder how history would have come out if Gamaliel's wise tolerance could have controlled the situation. For though the Jewish leaders seemed superficially to concur in Gamaliel's judgment, they nevertheless kept up their bitter antagonism and shut the Christians from the synagogue. We know now that they were mistaken. Christianity, starting within Judaism, was not an innovation to be dreaded; it was the finest flowering out that Judaism ever had. When the Master looked back across his heritage and said, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill," he perfectly described the situation.

The Christian ideas of God, the Christian principles of life, the Christian hopes for the future, were all rooted in the Old Testament and grew up out of it, and the Master himself, who called the Jewish temple his Father's house, rejoiced in the glorious heritage of his people's prophets. Only he did believe in a living God. He did not think that God was dead, having finished his words and works with Malachi. Jesus had not simply a historic, but a contemporary God, speaking now, working now, leading his people now from partial into fuller truth. Jesus believed in the progressiveness of revelation, and these Jewish leaders did not understand that.

Was this new gospel a real development which they might welcome, or was it an enemy to be cast out? And they called it an enemy and excluded it. One does wonder what might have happened had Gamaliel's wise tolerance been in control.We, however, face today a situation too similar and too urgent and too much in need of Gamaliel's attitude to spend any time
making guesses at supposititious history. Already all of us must have heard about the people who call themselves the Fundamentalists. Their apparent intention is to drive out of the evangelical churches men and women of liberal opinions.

I speak of them the more freely because there are no two denominations more affected by them than the Baptist and the Presbyterian. We should not identify the Fundamentalists with the conservatives. All Fundamentalists are conservatives, but not all conservatives are Fundamentalists. The best conservatives can often give lessons to the liberals in true liberality of spirit, but the Fundamentalist program is essentially illiberal and intolerant.

The Fundamentalists see, and they see truly, that in this last generation there have been strange new movements in Christian thought. A great mass of new knowledge has come into man=E2=80=99s possession: new knowledge about the physical universe, its origin, its forces, its laws; new knowledge about human history and in particular about the ways in which the ancient peoples used to think in matters of religion and the methods by which they phrased and explained their spiritual experiences; and new knowledge, also, about other religions and the strangely similar ways in which men's faiths and religious practices have developed everywhere.

Now, there are multitudes of reverent Christians who have been unable to keep this new knowledge in one compartment of their minds and the Christian faith in another. They have been sure that all truth comes from the one God and is his revelation. Not, therefore, from irreverence or caprice or destructive zeal, but for the sake of intellectual and spiritual integrity, that they might really love the Lord their God not only with all their heart and soul and strength, but with all their mind, they have been trying to see this new knowledge in terms of the Christian faith and to see the Christian faith in terms of this new knowledge. Doubtless they have made many mistakes. Doubtless there have been among them reckless radicals gifted with intellectual ingenuity but lacking spiritual depth.

Yet the enterprise itself seems to them indispensable to the Christian church. The new knowledge and the old faith cannot be left antagonistic or even disparate, as though a man on Saturday could use one set of regulative ideas for his life and on Sunday could change gear to another altogether. We must be able to think our modern life clear through in Christian terms, and to do that we also must be able to think our Christian life clear through in modern terms.

There is nothing new about the situation. It has happened again and again in history, as, for example, when the stationary earth suddenly began to move, and the universe that had been centered in this planet was centered in the sun around which the planets whirled. Whenever such a situation has arisen, there has been only one way out: the new knowledge and the old faith had to be blended in a new combination.

Now the people in this generation who are trying to do this are the liberals, and the Fundamentalists are out on a campaign to shut against them the doors of the Christian fellowship. Shall they be allowed to succeed?

It is interesting to note where the Fundamentalists are driving in their stakes to mark out the deadline of doctrine around the church, across which no one is to pass except on terms of agreement. They insist that we must all believe in the historicity of certain special miracles, preeminently the virgin birth of our Lord; that we must believe in a special theory of inspiration that the original documents of the scripture, which of course we no longer possess, were inerrantly dictated to men a good deal as a man might dictate to a stenographer; that we must believe in a special theory of the atonement that the blood of our Lord, shed in a substitutionary death, placates an alienated Deity and makes possible welcome for the returning sinner; and that we must believe in the second coming of our Lord upon the clouds of heaven to set up a millennium here, as the only way in which God can bring history to a worthy denouement.

Such are some of the stakes which are being driven, to mark a deadline of doctrine around the church. If a man is a genuine liberal, his primary protest is not against holding these opinions, although he may well protest against their being considered the fundamentals of Christianity. This is a free country and anybody has a right to hold these opinions, or any others, if he is sincerely convinced of them. The question is: has anybody a right to deny the Christian name to those who differ with him on such points and to shut against them the doors of the Christian fellowship?

The Fundamentalists say that this must be done. In this country and on the foreign field they are trying to do it. They have actually endeavored to put on the statute books of a whole state binding laws against teaching modern biology. If they had their way, within the church, they would set up in Protestantism a doctrinal tribunal more rigid than the pope's.

In such an hour, delicate and dangerous, when feelings are bound to run high, I plead this morning the cause of magnanimity and liberality and tolerance of spirit. I would, if I could reach their ears, say to the Fundamentalists about the liberals what Gamaliel said to the Jews, "Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

Very good. There truly is nothing new under the sun, and as we remain so desperately ignorant of history, we simply repeat the same mistakes, errors, and devastating actions over and over again.

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Monday, January 05, 2004

The following I find an apt, if short, commentary on the Defense of Marriage Age, and more particular the proposed Constitutional amendment opposing gay marriage:

"Paul Bradshaw, a scholar of liturgy and the history of the early church, has published ten principles for interpreting early Christian liturgical evidence. One of these seems particularly germane to the present-day efforts to prohibit gay marriage. It says: 'Legislation is better evidence for what it proposes to prohibit than for what it seeks to promote.'* The Celtic tradition in Britain serves as a case in point. If the so-called Synod of Whitby (663 AD) created a standardized form of Christianity throughout Britain, why did other gatherings, meetings, and synods need to repeat over and over again this same demand for standardization? Answer: the legislation requiring uniformity actually serves as evidence that things were not, in fact, uniform! You don't have to make a law against something that is not actually happening, right? Given this principle, what do you think future historians will think of the Defense of Marriage Act and similar legislation?"**

I suspect historians will conclude that gay-marriages were already being conducted, and the new laws or amendments were to stop and condemn them, not so much as the proponents of the laws claimed them to be about the positive elevation of the institution of heterosexual marriage and family. However, in the same way subsequent meetings, synods, and gatherings had to continually demand uniformity in British Christianity, because there continued not to be, those opposed to gay-marriage will continually have to demand by force the prohibition of gay-marriages, because they will continue to occur! Slaves found ways to marry, even when their masters and society denied them the legal recognition - marriage was a covenant based on mutual adult intent acknowledged and supported by their peers, not on pieces of paper. It wasn't until much later that their marriages were recognized by law and society with all the legal rights and responsibilities provided for the rest of the citizenry.

Of course, since the DMA has already passed nationally and in most states, and with the possibility that an amendment might be successfully added to the Constitution, historians will decide the rightness or wrongness of the laws and amendments depending on who gets to write the history, and when.

Much of what I hear and read from the politicized Religious Right prohibitionists claim to positively uplift the institution of heterosexual marriage, as we understand it in the late 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries, for the sake of families and society, but if we apply the standard suggested by Bradshaw and emphasized by Bates, then it seems to be more about their negative demand to rid the nation of gay-marriages.

* Paul Bradshaw, The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship: Sources and Methods for the Study of Liturgy (New York: Oxford, 1992), 68.
**Father Barrie Bates, A Rhetorical Editorial, Life at Ascension Parish Newsletter, vol 35, no 1 (New York: Church of the Ascension, 2004), 2.

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Sunday, January 04, 2004

"Prayer is the meeting of eternity and time..." from Easter, by Michael Arditti. I have heard a number of things like this. From this past semester's liturgy class: the idea that the liturgy is meant to bring us out of our time and into God's time, from kronos into kairos. In much the same way that a church - full of stained glass, statuary, candles, beautiful architecture, icons, etc. - brings us out of our human 'space' and into God's 'space.' This idea of the church environment, its 'space,' is made very real as one enters St. Thomas Episcopal Church on 5th Ave. in New York City. Coming from the hustle and bustle, the noise, the frenzied and frantic crowds of 5th Ave., and entering into St. Thomas, where it is quite, serene, peaceful, and very beautiful is almost like entering a different world. The only place to find quite in New York City is within a church. Time stops in those places, if for only a moment, and I am able to hear myself think, I am able to meditation and contemplate, and I listen attentively for the still small voice of God.

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Saturday, January 03, 2004

I had an interesting conversation with a man seated next to me on one leg of my flight back to New York, yesterday. He noticed the book I'm reading (Easter) on my lap while buckling in and asked me about it. He went to Asbury Seminary and is now pastoring a "Missionary Church." I've never heard of that denomination, although he said it is Wesleyan. Anyway, he asked me what I thought about the recent happenings within the Episcopal Church, which got us off onto a whole variety of topics, most specifically homosexuality and the Church's response to the whole issue. He is opposed to homosexuality and the Church's acceptance and inclusion of gays in relationships.

He made a number of statements that were typical (typically incorrect!), and a couple that I thought were interesting (although not unexpected). The statements confirmed that really there is no compromise between those who believe in inclusion and those who do not - the only thing that will change peoples' minds is confronting, face-to-face, people who do not fit into their neat categorizations or stereotypes.

At one point, he said that we Christians get ourselves in trouble when we begin to use philosophy to explain our beliefs - he is apposed to Christians using philosophy. Of course, theology is simply the philosophy of God. I understand, I think, that he believes that relying too much on philosophical arguments will lead to relativism or disbelief.

He talked about the plain reading of scripture. I agree with the idea, in theory, but the problem is that the plain reading can only really happen in the original languages when they were written. When we get into the art and science of translating ancient languages into modern languages, we are engaged in interpretation. I can read an English Bible, but what I am reading is an interpretation, not the "plain" script of the original language. Moreover, of course, if depends on which English translation I read. I have read numerous times, which I really have to do some research to confirm, that the actual word "homosexual" did not appear in an English translation of the Bible until the mid-50's. Before that, the world could not be found. The plain reading prior to the 1950's would not have included the word "homosexual," whereas the plain reading in various English translations after the 1950's does. Finding the word "homosexual" in scripture is not the primary rational for the sinfulness of homosexuality, however.

Then, of course, he could not conceive that I have a high-view of scripture because I did not agree with him (and truthfully with the force of interpretative history and tradition of those few verses used to condemn homosexuals) on the meaning of the few verses or pericope that are said to pertain to homosexuals. Because I came to a different interpretive conclusion (not based on my own want but from study), I could not view scripture as authoritative. Because I did not agree with his interpretation, I was deceived or at least refusing to acknowledge the "plain-reading" of scripture. In his comments, he always kept coming back to his acceptance of scripture as authoritative, which I always had to remind him that I held the same belief. He didn't believe me. He would allow for difference of interpretation with other things, such as between Calvinism and Arminianism, or between Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals, but not with the issue of homosexuality. To him, I am a biblical relativist.

He does not believe that conservative and liberal (the terms never fit and always confuse the issue, frankly) can remain in the same Church. Even as I tried to explain the ethos of Anglicanism - that despite the differences, there remains unity and an allowance for difference of opinion - he just didn't get it. In order for the two groups to live in integrity, they had to split apart. Of course, it all depends on where one's focus is directed. If there is a belief that Christ can be seen in others who disagree with us, then unity is possible. If there is an allowance for God to determine who is in and who is out, if there is an allowance for legitimate interpretive differences and a saying of "I don't know for sure," then there can be unity.

While I recognize that pride is an ever present companion, I am amazed at the self-righteous pride that has developed within Evangelicalism. Why do any of us think that at this day-in-age, that we suddenly have it all correct, when throughout the 2,000 plus years of Christians history, there has never been unanimity of belief! We don't have all the answers right now, nor will we ever. We see in part, we understand in part, as looking through a glass dimly. Only when we are face-to-face with Jesus will we know. Why, then, do Evangelicals find it increasingly necessary to demand that they now know everything pertaining to God's truth when that has never been the case throughout history?

I just don't know where to go with all this stuff right now. There is so much more I need to know and learn before I can make any type of honest and legitimate argument.

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Friday, December 26, 2003

I've been reading Rowan Williams' (Archbishop of Canterbury) book Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement. In chapter two he writes of 'Charity,' "Since social activity outside the framework of 'charity' is regularly characterized by the sense of rivalry for limited goods, the festival or the fraternity comes to be a vastly important redefinition of what is involved in acquiring 'goods' at all. The material world appears as a world of scarcity - at least in the sense that no material acquisitions can be infinitely divided out. The game of 'charity' is based on the implied proposal that there are goods to be worked for that are completely different in kind from material goods, goods that exist only in the game, within the agreed structures of unproductive action..." (pp. 56-57; italics his)

In this context (rivalry of limited 'goods', although not in reference to a 'game'), I wonder whether the conflicts between different groups of Christians, and between some Christians and other religions, and between they and secularists, is a result of this notion: that salvation is a limited commodity so that there is a competition to see who gets it -- or -- God's acceptance and attention are limited, so that there is a rivalry to attain them. Thus, one group demands that their way be the only way and that their definitions be the only definitions to the exclusion of all others, securing for themselves God's salvation, attention, acceptance, and blessing.

I wonder whether for many there is an underlying concept of limit to God's grace and mercy, to God's salvation? The politicized Religious Right demands (in so many ways and at so many levels) that society accepts their understanding of what determines a Christian and their definitions, and accept their assertion that those who do not are not saved or are not Christian. Why? I know there all kinds of sociological, psychological, and theological explanations for such views and behavior, but I wonder within a theological context whether there honestly is a belief that God's grace and salvation are limited, and because of this there develops a sense of rivalry and competition that compels them to horde, to become exclusive, to deny others that which they claim for themselves? This could explain a lot in the way the conservative Religious Right is responding to the inclusion of homosexuals into society and the Church and their obsessive, fanatical opposition to any Christian person or group that advocates for such inclusion. I wonder?

God's salvation, attention, acceptance, and blessing are limitless, thus there is no need to adopt an economic or consumer model of competitiveness and rivalry to attain/obtain limited resources -- whether spiritual, material, a sense of acceptance or self-worth, forgiveness, love, etc. There is no 'charity' and no concern for the other in this model, just selfishness, ego, and pride -- which can and will lead to violence, whether spiritual, mental, or physical.

You can read a critique of this book by my friend Andy Lang on the Amazon website - click on the above link.

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Sunday, December 21, 2003

I am leaving for home today. The semester has ended. There are so many things I could have and should have written over these past few months, especially all the stuff going on with the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church. I have been obsessed over it all, and for good reason. Now, we simply wait to see how things transpire. There will, of course, be a flood of books soon, and this certainly is a case study for Philip Jenkins' book "The Next Christendom." (Read this excerpt from The Atlantic magazine).

This semester has been so full that just about everything else has been push out of my mind. I may, possibly, be able to get back to normal for a short bit, at least until spring semester begins. If I do not write until after the New Year - Happy Holidays (Merry Christmas) and have a very good New Year!

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Thursday, December 18, 2003

The latest communication from one of the angry Anglican Provincials: this is on the AAC website.

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Okay, if you are from Detroit, go here!. You may not like it, but if we cannot laugh at ourselves, what's the point. No, I am not from Detroit, but I went to college at Bowling Green State University and visited Detroit several times - close enough.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Over! It is all over! I took my last final this morning and it is all over!!!! Well, for this semester, anyway. Here is one of the questions we had to address:

We have addressed the topic of Christian monotheism this semester, and its implications for other aspects of Christian belief and practice. Write an essay in which you lay out your understanding of Christian monotheism, relating it to:
a. the natural world as creation
b. the human person as moral agent and social being, and
c. the presence of sin and evil in creation

I know we are supposed to be thinking theologically by now, and the question is a good integrating question, but when I have 45 minutes to deal with this question and we have never address monotheism in relation to the three particulars in class or in the readings, it ain't easy. But, it is OVER!

On a lighter note, I found out what kind of gay I am.

WOW! What a surprise! You're "Mr. Butch
Masculine Queer." You'd pretty much be
straight if you didn't like boys. Sometimes you
try to hard to look/act/be
"masculine" And sometimes it's
natural. You are every fairy bottom's dream man

What kind of queer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Okay. That's it.

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Saturday, December 13, 2003

Conservative Episcopalians who are breaking away from the Church (not their understanding of things!) will not be happy with Presiding Bishop Griswold's statement concerning direct intervention by various primates from around the world. Read the Episcopal News Service article.

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Go here and listen to this guy's sound files! His name is Ed Shepp. Have fun.

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Thursday, December 11, 2003

It is amazing that with just one mistake, I can become so discouraged so quickly. This just isn't like me. I arrived at the HealthCare Chaplaincy offices at 4:00 pm today for a CPE interview. I looked at the e-mail detailing the address and noticed that my interview was actually at 10:00 am this morning. My e-mail confirming the appointment has the correct time - 10:00 am. I don't know how I screwed up on this, but it is not a good thing. I have to do CPE this summer, or else everything is up in the air concerning ordination. CPE fills up quickly. When I realized I screwed up, my whole mood just plummeted.

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Friday, December 05, 2003

Bare with me for a moment. This could be fun!

I want everyone to know that I have been designated a "Secular Humanist!" Yes, it is true, by taking the "Worldview Test" offered by "Worldview Weekends," sponsored by the "American Family Association," it has been determined that I am a secular humanist.

Here is what I propose: get as many people as possible to take their test to skew the results so that the statistics they are collecting reflect a more balanced reflection of Christianity and the American public. Also, it will drive them crazy - suddenly all these people, perhaps a majority depending on how well this goes, are designated "Secular Humanists" or worst! Yes, American is going to hell-in-a-hand-basket because of all these anti-God secular humanists, socialists, and communists. Terrible!

So, here is the webpage. Take the time to fill out the survey and let's get their panties all in a bunch as we show them that the majority of Christians in America do not support their extreme opinions.

By the way, the instrument they have constructed is horrible, terrible, unbelievably unscientific, so just remember that. It could drive some of you crazy!

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It is snowing - a lot!

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Thursday, December 04, 2003

There are so many things going on right now that I want to chronicle, but I have no time to do it. Writing about past events far from their happening just isn't the same, but I'm going to have to.

Two papers down, and one long one to go. The analysis of my field-placement parish is the longest paper, but the least research oriented. Once that is done, I'm ready for Reading Week, and then exams.

I have to be concerned about the CPE application process, financial aid forms, and scheduling classes for next term. I need to make arrangements for a dentist appointment while I'm back in Ohio. Forget Christmas cards - they just ain't happenin' again this year. And, I have not even begun to think about Christmas presents.

It really is too back I cannot write as much as I would like - not that the writing is good at all, but it helps me remember and reflect on the past and see how I've changed.

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Friday, November 21, 2003

There is a beautiful sunset tonight looking over the Hudson River towards New Jersey.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

We have watched sermons from Barbara Brown Taylor in our Preaching class, so here is one she recently gave dealing with current issues in the Episcopal Church, which reflect current issues in our society, especially since the judicial ruling in Massachusetts, yesterday. Thanks, Chris, for the e-mail.


20 October 2003 Where the Bible leads me By Barbara Brown Taylor

During the fourth century, at the height of the Arian controversy in Constantinople, one Christian wrote that it was impossible to go into a bakery for a loaf of bread without debating the nature of Christ.

Was he the eternal Son of the eternal Father or was there a time when he was not?

With bishops physically assaulting other bishops over this question and emperors changing sides on a regular basis, the debate spilled out of the church into the streets, where the Athanasians favored passages from John's Gospel and the Arians shot back with passages from Mark.

When I read this chapter of early church history, I thanked God for letting me live in a later one. Then I got back to planning classes and grading papers.

That was before the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, however, when a majority of delegates from across the United States confirmed the election of the Rev. Gene Robinson as the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Since then, North Georgia has come to resemble Constantinople in at least one regard: no Episcopalian goes anywhere without being asked for his or her position on homosexuality.

While no physical assaults have yet been reported, the debate has split churches and threatened budgets. It has also involved heated references to scripture. Robinson fans tend to favor passages from the Gospels, while Robinson foes shoot back with passages from Paul.

In the crossfire, it is not hard to understand why Anthony the Great fled civilization for the desert in the middle of the fourth century. Depending on who your neighbors are, snakes and hyenas can look like pretty good company.

The problem I run into at the bakery is that I do not have a position on homosexuality.

What I have, instead, is a life. I have a history, in which many people have played vital parts. When I am presented with the issue of homosexuality, I experience temporary blindness. Something like scales fall over my eyes, because I cannot visualize an issue.

Instead, I visualize the homeroom teacher who seemed actually to care whether I showed up at school or not.

I see the priest who taught me everything I know about priesthood, and the professor who roasted whole chickens for me when my food money ran out before the end of the month.

I see the faces of dozens of young men who died of AIDS, but not before they had shown me how brightly they could burn with nothing left but the love of God to live on.

I see the face of my 16-year-old friend, still waiting for his first true love, who says that if he found out he was gay, he would kill himself.

Other people have other stories, I know, but these are the stories that have given me my sight.

To reduce them to a position seems irreverent somehow, like operating on someone's body without looking him in the face.

I used to believe that swapping stories was one way to get closer to people who see things differently than I do, so that both of our truths get stretched, but I have almost given up on that.

Where I live, at least, there is little sense that life stories can be "true."

Only scripture is true, so that the debate about the place of homosexual Christians in the church today hangs on what various
biblical writers did or did not mean by one of five passages that were written at least 1,950 years ago.

I love the Bible.

I have spent more than half of my life reading it, studying it, teaching and preaching it.

While I do not find every word of it as inspiring (or inspired) as some of my fellow Christians do, I encounter God in it reliably enough to commit myself on a daily basis to practicing the core teachings of both testaments.

When I do this, however, a peculiar thing happens.

As I practice what I learn in the Bible, the Bible turns its back on me.

Like some parent intent on my getting my own place, the Bible won't let me set up house in its pages.

It gives me a kiss and boots me into the world, promising me that I have everything I need to find God not only on the page but also in the flesh.

Whether I am reading Torah or the Gospels, the written word keeps evicting me, to go embody the word by living in peace and justice with my neighbors on this earth, whatever amount of confrontation, struggle, recognition and surrender that may involve.

In this way, I have arrived at a different understanding of what it means to follow the Word of God.

The phrase has become a double entendre for me, meaning not only the Word on the page but also (and more crucially) the Word made flesh.

If Jesus' own example is to be trusted, then following the Word of God may not always mean doing what is in the book.

Instead, it may mean deviating from what is in the book in order to risk bringing the Word to life, and then facing the dreadful
consequences of loving the wrong people even after you have been warned time and again to stop.

These days I guess everything sounds like a position, even a confession like this one.

I do not know what is right.

All I know is whom I love, and how far I have to go before there is no one left whom I do not love.

If I am wrong, then I figure that the Word of God will know what to do with me.

I am betting my life on that.

* * * Barbara Brown Taylor teaches at Piedmont College and Columbia Theological Seminary.

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News from Stephen Bennett Ministries:


Tuesday, November 18, 2003 11:15 am Contact Stephen Bennett (203) 926-6960

MA SJC Paves Way for U.S. "Gay" Marriage

In another tragic blow to the traditional family and Christians alike, corrupt judges in MA ruled 4:3 this morning that banning same-sex marriage in MA is unconstitutional. Short of giving the green light for homosexuals to line up for marriage licenses, they passed the buck to the MA Legislature, who now has 180 days to to come up with a solution and act in light of the decision.

Massachusetts moved closer to becoming the first state in the country to allow homosexual couples to wed - a decision which would affect every state in the country (Article 4 in the U.S. Constitution known as the Full Faith and Credit clause.)

The state's Supreme Judicial Court decided homosexual couples should be allowed to apply for marriage licenses, overturning a ruling by a lower court handed down in May 2002 which said state law does not convey the right of marriage to homosexual couples.

"People need to wake up and realize this is not the same America of years gone by. We are no longer a Christian nation - and haven't been for many years. We are a nation ruled by corrupt, wicked men - men who base their laws not on the God of the Bible, but of the god of this world," said Stephen Bennett, a former homosexual now married to his wife of ten years and the father of their two little children. "Christians better be prepared - this is just the beginning."

With the ruling earlier this year by the Supreme Court approving sodomy, the removing of Alabama Justice Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments monument, and now MA's ruling, Bennett feels the direction from here on in is pretty clear.

"We are a nation of God haters, idolaters and false religions. Our women legally murder babies in their own womb, sodomy is constitutional and every wicked imagination of the heart is given legal rights. As much as I will continue to fight and stand for the truth, I pray almighty God steps in now. Let Him do whatever He needs to to shake America back to its senses. My heart breaks for my country, for Christian complacency and for our sin before a holy God. He has to intervene - we need Him now more than ever," said Stephen.

Stephen has been becoming more and more extreme.

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If of interest, here is the link to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's ruling:


Andrew Sullivan has a great commentary on his website.

"More to the point - a gay citizen should not be deemed inferior to a straight citizen, denied basic equality under the law, denied the right guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence to the "pursuit of happiness," when there is absolutely no rational reason to do so. Here is a challenge to the many married heterosexual readers of this site: did you ever believe that your fundamental right to the pursuit of happiness did not include the right to marry the person you love? Has the possibility that the government might invalidate or prevent your marriage ever for a second occurred to you? If not for you, why not for gays? Why should one group in society be granted special rights over others?" (Andrew Sullivan)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled today: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts cannot deny equal rights, privileges, and responsibilities for marriage to couples of the same sex.

I pulled this statement from Andrew Sullivan's website (I'm not sure where it comes from, but it seems to be a statement from the bench):

"Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples. "

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Monday, November 17, 2003

"...they say, 'of all other most clear, where speaking of those things which are called indifferent, in the end he concludeth, That 'whatsoever is not of faith is sin.' But faith is not but in respect of the Word of God. Therefore whatsoever is not done by the Word of God is sin." Whereunto we answer, that albeit the name of Faith being properly and strictly taken, it must needs have reference unto some uttered word as the object of belief: nevertheless sith the ground of credit is the credibility of things credited; and things are made credible, either by the know condition and quality of the utterer, or by the manifest likelihood of truth which they have in themselves; hereupon it riseth that whatsoever we are persuaded of, the same we are generally said to believe. In which generality the object of faith may not so narrowly be restrained, as if the same did extend no further than to the only Scriptures of God. 'Though,' saith our Saviour, 'ye believe not me, believe my works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me and I in him.' 'The other disciples said unto Thomas, We have seen the Lord;' but his answer unto them was, 'Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into them, I will not believe.' Can there be any thing more plain than that which by these two sentences appeareth, namely, that there may be a certain belief grounded upon other assurance than Scripture: any thing more clear, than that we are said not only to believe the things which we know by another's relation, but eve whatsoever we are certainly persuaded of, whether it be by reason or by sense?"

(Richard Hooker, Book Two of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity - so to answer the Puritan's demand that nothing be done but that which is directly found in scripture, and if something be done that is not found in scripture, then it is sin.)

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Ashton and I have to prepare today. Ashton has decided that it is time to put Daq to sleep. That dog has been with him for 14 years. A good life, for a dog. It is especially hard for Ashton because Daq is generally healthy, it seems. She has arthritis, and hip-displatia (sp?), although both are being managed with drugs. She also has a problem of number 2 - she just can't hold it.

I accompany the two of them on walks on Monday's, and she really is in pretty good shape. I run with her for a couple blocks and she goes right along, although a couple weeks ago her hind-legs, really her hips, I suppose, gave out. I felt so bad for her, and for what it means for Ashton. She recouped and was on her away again, but the writing was on the wall. It was only a matter of time, and now time has caught up with her.

It will be very hard on Ashton. He loves that dog, and she has been a consistent presence in his life. He and Brett will probably take her to the Vet. I'm not sure whether he wants me to come along or not, but I certainly will if he needs me to.

The next two weeks are going to kill me, I just know it. Four papers will be due within that time, and I just don't know how I will accomplish everything. In a month, half of my seminary education will be over. It is going by so fast.

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Saturday, November 15, 2003

Good article from The Tablet in the UK. This takes on a number of things, but of interest to me is some historical background on the Communion and past controversies and what some see as a creeping into a more centralized authority, with real authority, to develop common canon law and doctrine.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Ashton took me to see Matt & Ben last night for my birthday. It was a great show - creative, the actors did a wonderful job, and it was just good.

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I was reading through the most recent edition of Focus-on-the-Family's CitizenUpdate and of course there was the obligatory item on homosexuals' desire to destroy marriage. Background - the HRC will be conducting a million dollar ad campaign to defeat the proposed amendment to the constitution that will deny homosexuals the right to marry nationwide, and the right of individual states to enact laws recognizing gay marriages.

"They're wanting to attack and destroy the institution of marriage for the financial gain or the pleasure of these adults," Crews said.

This is such a tired argument and accusation. To simply stop and think for a moment, which is a lot to ask of many people whether liberal or conservative, then to ask how they deduce from a campaign to win the right to marry by gay couples that homosexuals are attempting to destroy marriage? Politicized Religious Right Fundamentalists are not campaigning to destroy divorce, spending millions of dollars to enshrine in our constitution laws that restrict divorce, even though the close to 50% divorce rater among born-again Christians is ravaging good, wholesome, Christian marriages. It is simply, and only, an attempt to find an argument that deceives enough citizens in order to gain the votes needed to deny homosexuals any positive, life-giving, and live-sustaining position within our civil society. If they where truly serious about protecting families and protecting the institution of marriage, they would look at their own houses first, search in their own eyes first, and spend the millions upon millions of dollars to protect the institution of marriage against divorce, but they don't because too many of them are involved in divorce, fornication, adultery, and the like, and it is much easier to find a vulnerable scapegoat to blame - which are homosexuals and their desire for equal treatment under the civil law with regards to state recognized marriage.

Genevieve Wood, spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council --also named in the ad -- said it comes down to this: "Is marriage between a man and a woman -- as it has always been in this country and civilization throughout history -- or is marriage something that you can just make up and redefine, which is what pro-homosexual organizations like the Human Rights Campaign would like to suggest?"

It is historic fact that marriage has been re-defined time-and-time again. To believe that throughout all history and in every culture marriage was defined and understood as we do in the United States in the 21st. Century is to be completely ignorant of history - willfully ignorant or willfully deceptive!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Yesterday was my birthday and I received an e-mail from a friend of mine back in Ohio (John Nolan) with this character inventory based on trees. So, all those born between Oct. 25 through Nov. 11 are Maple trees. Here is the description:

MAPLE TREE (Independence of Mind) - no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.

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Saturday, November 08, 2003

There was a lunar eclipse tonight. St. Paul's had their annual dinner/auction/raffle tonight, and people were running in and out to watch the eclipse. It wasn't nearly as impressive as when years ago I was paperboy in Vermilion and on my route one night I watched a lunar eclipse. The moon, then, was very low in the sky, which made the moon look much larger that it normally does - kind of like a science fiction movie with a planet that has a very close and very large moon or two. Anyway, tonight's moon was positioned high in the sky.

I've got to get some sleep - I am fatigued to the point where I can't fall asleep. I am stressing myself far beyond reason - well, not really beyond what we are all feeling, but I think I should be able to convince myself that there is not need to stress this much because there is nothing I can do about all the work that is coming due. I've got to restore some semblance of balance in my life, especially concerning exercise of some sort just to relieve the effects of stress. I just don't know how I am going to do it.

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Monday, November 03, 2003

Well, the deed it done. There were protestors (Fred Phelps and his gang, and a few others) and counter-protestors (students from the University of New Hampshire and a few others). Three people (priest Rev. Earl Fox from the Diocese of Pittsburg, a lay women from New Hampshire, and a Bishop Suffragan David Bena from Albany) gave reasons why Robinson should not be consecrated. The first guy, Fox, I think was his name, began giving invalid statistics about gay-sex and was becoming quite vivid in his discriptions until the Presiding Bishop Griswold stopped him and ask his to skip over the graphic stuff and get to is point. He did. It was all quite civil.

We all are dead tired and going to bed.

See pictures here:

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Sunday, November 02, 2003

Fred Phelps will be protesting against the consecration of Gene Robinson, today. Nothing new. His group will also be protesting the AAC's alternative service being conducted for those who oppose the consecration on the grounds of Gene's homosexuality. Fred and his family/group are protesting both consecration and alternative service because ALL Episcopalians are going to Hell, regardless of their views on homosexuality or Gene's consecration.

From ENS:


Unexpected Support for Episcopal Church Action

By Dan England and Matthew Davies

[Episcopal News Service] On the eve of the consecration of Canon V Gene Robinson as Bishop-coadjutor of the Diocese of New Hampshire and the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, a twist. It seems students from the University of Durham in New Hampshire, will be protesting conservative protestors tomorrow by staging their own demonstration and calling for "a more realistic and broadminded approach" to the current stance on homosexuality in the Church. One of the students, a 21 year-old woman called Nika with a hard-to-miss silver ring in her bottom lip, told ACNS/ENS that she had never been to church, but was joining the protest. "I am very spiritual," she said, "but I'm not much for organised religion." Asked if she'd consider actually going to a church that took this kind of action, she said, "Yeah, I think I would. Yeah, I'll have to give it a try."

The American Anglican Council (AAC) will be sending two representatives to Durham, New Hampshire during this weekend's consecration. The Revd Canon Dr Kendall S. Harmon, Canon Theologian for the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Rt Revd David Bena, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Albany, will be providing support for New Hampshire Episcopalians grieved by the actions of their diocese and to also stand with them in opposition to the consecration.

Ever since the 74th General Convention in Minneapolis, there has been a superabundance of opinion that has turned into a struggle over the true nature of the Anglican Communion. The conservative contingency at tomorrow's consecration will be positioning themselves to contend and protest what they see as the demise of traditional scripture while others will be observing what they feel is a remarkable turning point in the history of the church. The student protesters, many of whom are without religious affiliation, go blank when asked about the view of the Bible on the question, but seem united that "it's about time" when commenting on the event.

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Today is the day. It is "D" day for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We leave the seminary at 7:00 am for the five hour drive to New Hampshire. I have such mixed feelings about all this, but it will be a historic day - perhaps an infamous day.

"Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me.

"Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."
(St. Patrick's Breastplate)

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Saturday, November 01, 2003

A decision has been made and announced by the Anglican Mission in America (the schismatic group of "conservative" - I hate using that term! - Episcopalians who align themselves with and are given authority by the Anglican Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and Yong Ping Chung of SouthEast Asia) concerning the ordination of women. There have been many saying that if the reactionary-conservatives are permitted to take control of the Episcopal Church USA that one of their first actions would be to rescind the right of women to obtain Holy Orders/ordination to the priesthood. Well, that is exactly what has happened. The two women priests who have aligned themselves with the AMiA will be allowed to retain their Orders, but only on staff at their present assignments. Any women priest in the future who aligns herself with the AMiA will have her Orders to the priesthood revoked and she will function as a Deacon.

If the American Anglican Council succeeds in its efforts to have its churches declared the official representatives of the Anglican Communion in the U.S., with its power coming from some African, Asian, and South American bishops, then expect them to come to the same conclusion as did the AMiA. There have been statements that the different factional parties represented in the AAC have opposing beliefs concerning women's ordination. AAC will not be able to hold together with these kinds of differences, especially since they are beholden to reactionary-conservative bishops in provinces that do not allow women priests. Once schism happens, schism will continue between those who favor and those who do not favor women priests - let alone bishops.

Here is the announcement:

For Immediate Distribution, Contact: Jay L. Greener
Communications Officer: The Anglican Mission in America

Anglican Mission in America Announces Policy on Women's Ordination

After an extensive and thorough process of study and reflection the leadership of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has announced its newly adopted policy on the ordination of women.

Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and Yong Ping Chung of SouthEast Asia, sponsors of the Anglican Mission, have provided the guidance to ordain properly qualified and called women as deacons, but not as priests or bishops.

The decision follows two years of intensive study and input on the part of a special commission chaired by the Rt. Rev. Dr. John Rodgers. Bishop Rodgers, formerly President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Pittsburgh, indicated that to his knowledge, it is the most extensive study and review of its kind on the issue of women's ordination.

Commission members, who represented a variety of views on the topic, read a large amount of background material, dealt with the biblical texts and considered the best way forward. Along the way a major document was produced, likely the only one of its kind, outlining the various options, the pros and cons, and the exegesis related to each position. The report was then considered by the leadership of each AMiA congregation, and feedback was received. After this, the findings went to the House of Bishops in Rwanda in early October for their deliberation, and finally to the sponsoring Primates of the Anglican Mission for their decision.

As promised when the Anglican Mission was formed in 2000, the two women who had already been ordained Priests and had affiliated with the AMiA, will be permitted to continue their ministry as priests, serving on staff where called. However, women who seek affiliation with the Anglican Mission from this point on, who are already ordained as priests, will be asked to serve as deacons. Also as promised, women deacons will only be appointed to minister where they are openly received.

"As baptized Christians, we all have a call to ministry," observed Bishop John Rodgers. "As a missionary movement, we need the full and active participation of all our members, ordained and lay. This is true of both women and men in our midst. We need godly women to provide important leadership and ministry as lay leaders, and when so called within the sacred order of deacons."

The full 142 page report of the study commission is now available on CD-Rom, for a cost of $5 each. To order, please contact the Anglican Mission in America's National Mission Center at 843-237-0318, or email

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"I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three

"I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven, the glorious sun's life giving ray, the whiteness of the moon at even, the flashing of the lightning free, the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks, te stable earth, the deep salt sea, around the old eternal rocks.

"I bind unto myself the power of the great love of cherubim; the sweet 'Well done' in judgment hour; the service of the seraphim; confessors' faith, apostles' word, the partriarchs' prayers, the prophet's scrolls; all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls."

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The American Anglican Council has taken out a full-page advertisement in the "Manchester Union Leader newspaper in support of Episcopalians in New Hampshire opposed to the Consecration of Gene Robinson." You can download a copy of the ad here. If you want to see the ad, click here.

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For expressing an opinion, this happens. As much as I value Evangelicalism and the very good and positive aspects of this approach to Christian understanding, this type of reaction from "evangelicals," who are really fundamentalists (which started as a simple, straightforward renewal movement and now has descended into unquestioning, religious zealotry and despotism), is terribly disturbing. I have come to oppose with every fiber of my being Dominion Theology/Christian Reconstructionism, which is advocated by many within the politicized Religious Right. To be fair, many politically active conservative Christians do not support Dominion Theology. The goal is a take-over of American government in order to institute their view of a Christian nation. This article from Episcopal News Service, however, is how it translates into only the most minor of problems. I will say this time, which I try to refute with many of my more liberal friends, these parents are responding out of abject fear and ignorance. Anyway, here is the article:


Chaplain resigns after column supporting Robinson's election

by Jan Nunley

[Episcopal News Service] An Episcopal chaplain who wrote a column for a Georgia private school's newspaper supporting the election of Canon Gene Robinson, an openly gay man in a committed relationship, as bishop coadjutor of New Hampshire has resigned under pressure from the school's administration.

The Rev. John Merchant was chaplain of Darlington School, a non-denominational private Christian preparatory school in Rome, Georgia. He took the position this summer and resigned effective October 10.

Merchant's column was one of five articles about homosexuality written at the request of an editor of the school's publication, The Darlingtonian. In the column, published in early September, Merchant said that spirituality matters more to God than sexual orientation and that the Bible should not always be interpreted literally.

The column sparked protests from some parents, who threatened to withdraw financial support. School president David Hicks and headmaster David Rhodes asked Merchant to set up meetings to apologize to those upset with the article. "Specifically, we want you to initiate between 50 and 75 one-on-one meetings over the next 30 days," Rhodes and Hicks said in a September 30 letter to Merchant. "These meetings will be with those who have expressed dissent with your views, concern over your chaplaincy, or the intention to withdraw their children or support from the school."

But Merchant refused, calling the request "morally and academically intolerable."

"After much deliberation and discussion, Father Merchant informed the president of Darlington School that the situation had become too stressful for him to perform his ministry here, and he tendered his resignation," school president David V. Hicks said in a statement. "We have, with sadness, accepted that resignation. We believe this decision is what's best for the entire Darlington School community."

Faculty newspaper adviser Karen Rieley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the controversy caught her by surprise. "If you're asking did I know it would upset people, no I didn't," she said.

Merchant told the newspaper he was stunned by the administration's reaction. "I felt like I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar," he said. "They said I had caused a terrible situation for Darlington and it was up to me to get them out of it. I was speechless." A history teacher, Merchant noted, "I had spent the first weeks in class teaching religious tolerance, dealing with the settlement of the Colonies."

The controversy spilled over into the surrounding community. Rome News-Tribune editor John Druckenmiller criticized the school's actions in a column titled "A Failing Grade in Freedom of Speech 101."

Hicks announced Merchant's resignation to students and faculty members at an assembly held October 10 and in a letter to parents. "We have never questioned Father Merchant's right to his own opinions," the letter said. "However, after much discussion, Father Merchant informed me that, given the situation in our community, he felt he could not perform his ministry here. Father Merchant is a good man. We wish him only the best as he continues his Christian ministry."-- The Rev. Jan Nunley is deputy director of Episcopal News Service. Chris Marr of the Rome News-Tribune, Norman Arey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Okay, I went to the parade. I was actually disappointed in the creativity - I had expected a whole lot more. My gosh, after all, if they televise the thing nationally, which they did a couple years ago, I could expect something fantastic, could I not? I guess having so many more people around just means you have so much more mediocrity. Everyone had a lot of fun, which was the important thing, so it was not all bad. I did see a lot of interesting people. A group of gay guys and a women or two where in a group and they were hilarious to listen to. The parade used to wind its way throughout the streets of the West Village and was simply made up of neighborhood people. They even went through the small side streets, until it all just got too bid. They now parade up 6th Ave. and people from all over come to participate.

This was the first time I have been in a crush of people. The sidewalks, and then part of the streets, where simply filled with people. There was a group of gay guys and a few women standing by me. They were hilarious - a lot of fun. It literally took me more than five minutes to negotiate around a street corner - I mean around the side of a building. It was a fun experience, if only to be in a crowd like that.

Frankly, I had more fun watching all the kids trick-or-treating with their parents around Chelsea then I did at the parade. I am amazed and heartened to see so many kids dressed up and doing this kind of thing in the city. They would go from business to business and then later, after dark, they went to brownstones throughout the neighborhood. Everyone was in a very good mood - but how could not be seeing all these kids so excited and all dressed up. There was one little boy, probably around three, that was dressed up in a full-body, furry dog costume running in from of this dad. I new it was his dad (I suspect) because he had the "dog" on a leash. It was so cute - the kid just running ahead of him like a dog would do. He looked like he was so excited.

I did treat myself by walking up to Chocolate Bar and having a hot chocolate, or as they put it "Liquid Chocolate." It was good. It also enabled me to watch the throng streaming through the streets in costume and just gawking. There were two guys dressed up in white "Tron" costumes. They seemed to get the most reaction out of people - "Hey Tron! I loved Tron!"

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Friday, October 31, 2003

I went for a nice walk though Central Park this evening. I came across this very odd guy doing his "prayformance" at the Angel Tunnel/ Bethesda Terrace Arcade. Very talented, very musical, and very strange was he. Anyway, the experience reinforced in me the marvel of New York City. You just never know when you might come across the most bizzar and wonderful thing - in this case "Thoth."

Check out his website.

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I have stopped reading the list from the House of Deputies/House of Bishops listserv, and now the new "forum" ist for the kibitzers. There is just too many posts and the arguments are getting more and more polarized. There have been cries from some who take a more moderate stance (don't really have a problem with homosexuality, but do not believe now is the time for an openly gay and partnered Bishop in the Anglican Communion) that the liberals are simply throwing them into the AAC pile. The moderates charge the liberals with doing the same thing the conservatives tend to do - falsely lump people into the "enemy" or "evil" category simply because they do not completely agree with their position, and other stuff. Anyway, I think the moderates are right - the liberals categorizes anyone who opposes Gene's consecration as being part of the AAC, and it is not so.

Lord willing, I heading up to New Hampshire on Sunday. I should have a ticket, but one never knows. The consecration is taking place in an ice-arena! We were told to dress warmly. What is that all about?

I don't know. This just needs to run its course and be over with. Of course, this is only the beginning, but at least the deed will have been done and everyone can either relax or leave. Get it over with.

Tonight, the Halloween Parade in the Village. Maybe. I am feeling a bit melancholy tonight, so I may just stay in. Too much work to do, besides.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I've decided to use my main weblog (this one) as a repository for everything, and the distribute the items to their own specific blog, if appropriate. Just an FYI.

Thus, concerning the Anglican Communion - the following was read this morning by Professor DeChamplain in Preaching class with reference to speaking/preaching/communicating. I think it is very appropriate for our current controversies. There is nothing truly new under the sun.

"One of the most enduring illusions is that our current difficulties are abnormal, ought to pass soon, and will be succeeded by an uninterrupted era of tranquility. We expect life to be like the shuttle between Heathrow and Edinburgh, a smooth ride on the whole, interrupted by occasional bouts of turbulence, through which we are advised to fasten our seat belts. In fact, the human reality is the reverse of that. Turbulence is the norm, interrupted by occasional periods of tranquility.

"One reason why people endlessly predict the disintegration of the Anglican Church is because of the prevalence of this tranquillist heresy. The doctrine is that we have departed or fallen from a normative tranquility and that our present troubles are abnormally stimulated by human wickedness and error, whereas it is the other way round. Turbulence and disagreement are the norm, the signs of life, and we should accept them as such. 'The troubles of our proud and angry dust are from eternity and shall not fail,' said Houseman. But job said it too: 'Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.' (Job 5:7).

"Let us spend some time meditating on this claim. Let us look at some of the troubles of our proud and angry dust."
(by: Richard Holloway)

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An interesting article on the BBC online website - What does the Bible actually say about being gay?

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Sunday, October 26, 2003

I was elected student representative to the Board of Trustees a month or so ago. I attended one meeting thus far, but it was atypical because the Board, minus the student reps, went on a retreat after the "official" meeting. Anyway, just so that I don't offer only my personal opinions on things, we had a meeting of the Middler class in our apartment last night. It was a good meeting - not a "bitch session," but we did let off a little steam, and then went on to substantive things.

Higher ed. Administration and student services really is my element, which of course makes sense since I've been doing that sort of thing for so long, but I am also in my element with regards to religion, politics, and technology. Anyway, doing this caused me to realize that I am coming at this thing from both an administrative perspective and also, for the first time in ten years, from a student perspective. It was just an odd feeling. If I end up back in higher education, I have been reminded what it is like being a student, especially a non-typical student.

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Friday, October 24, 2003

I came across a great newspaper article in an Australian newspaper. Here is the link to the article. Go ahead and read it.

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Thursday, October 23, 2003

This has been a very difficult two weeks. Classes have us all at our wits end. The Anglican Communion drama is still going on and we are all still fit-to-be-tied. All-in-all, things have been better.

There is a large contingent from the seminary going up to Gene Robinson's consecration. I decided not to go early on, for a variety of reasons. I think I have changed my mind. There are a bunch going up just on Sunday for the consecration and then returning, same day. I'm trying to get a ticket and hopefully I will be able to attend. The type of language coming out of the American Anglican Council convinced me I should go. They are so strident and absolutist, and wrong.

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Monday, October 20, 2003

"Some things hurt us; we hope they will not happen again; we call them bad. Some things please us; we hope they will happen again; we call them good." (Thomas & Wondra, Introduction to Theology, p.153) From a quote by Temple, concerning redefining sin in our modern era surrounding the notion of self-centeredness.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Well, "Law & Order" will be filming here sometime this week. It never ends.

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I was wrong. They have not been filming "Law & Order" these past couple of days. They are filming a new movie entitle, supposedly, "The House of D," staring Robin Williams. There are a whole heck of a lot of people roaming around. Most of the shooting seems to be taking place in Hoffman, my building, in the gym and Refectory. It seems to be set in the 1970's - funny seeing all these people dressed up in what is now absurd (although quite retro-chic) 1970's clothing.

So, look for the movie, and if you see it you will see General Theological Seminary!

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Monday, October 13, 2003

Ashton is here now. We are going to see a movie in a bit, walk Daq later this evening, and we will not forget FOOD!

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Law and Order is here in force this morning. I'm not sure how long or for which series, but I have never seen so many people with such an array of equipment and supplies for any of their previous shoots. It looks like they will be here for quite a while. It is fun and interesting to watch. I'm amazed at how much effort, how much equipment, and how many people it takes to produce a one hour series.

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Sunday, October 12, 2003

I have always had a nagging sense that once my discernment process concluded, once I was declared a Postulant, then through my seminary education, through Candidacy, only to come to the end and be told I will not be ordained. Everyone over the last four years have told me I have nothing to worry about. My diocese is electing a new bishop in a month. Again, I was assured that the selection committee would not put forward for election someone who did not support ordination of gay people.

Okay. I still have the nagging feeling. Recently, there came a news report from the BBC. Here it is:

Looks like BBC conducted a survey of all the Primates prior to the Lambeth meeting...


Church leaders to urge gay priests ban

16:59 - 12 October 2003

Anglican Church leaders will be sharply divided at a special meeting to discuss homosexuality this week, according to a survey.

All 38 primates from around the world are due to attend a meeting at Lambeth Palace, London, on Wednesday and Thursday to consider the controversial issue of gay priests.

There were calls recently for the US branch of the church to be excluded from the international communion after Gene Robinson was appointed as the first openly gay bishop.

In this country, Canon Jeffrey John was nominated for the post of Bishop of Reading in June, but later withdrew after controversy over his sexuality.

A BBC survey found that three-quarters of the primates would not allow homosexuals to become priests in their province.

Asian and African church leaders also plan to use the meeting, hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, to push for a ban on homosexual priests throughout the Anglican communion, the poll revealed.

The BBC's World This Weekend programme contacted every primate in the communion, and received 17 responses. Only four said they would accept homosexuality among priests in their church province.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, told the programme it was a matter of dealing with the "errant few".

"It is a departure from the teachings handed down from the fathers of faith and the Word of God in the holy scriptures," he added.

The Anglican communion has 80 million members worldwide.

I am still perplexed why there has been no counter argument from scripture against those who claim inclusionists have departed from the authority of scripture. I came to belief that homosexual relationships are not forbidden by God BECAUSE of scripture, not by denying scripture. So, why are liberals not making arguments to engage prohibitionists from scripture? I hope the accusations are not true - that liberals really have denied the authority of scripture.

The funny thing, if that is true, is that this evangelically minded person, because of scripture, is an inclusionist. I still wonder whether I will ever be ordained.

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Thursday, October 09, 2003

I have a new definition of seminary. Seminary is a three year hazing experience for entrance into the priesthood! Pure and simple - hazing!!!

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Wednesday, October 08, 2003

It takes a while, but as time roles on the real intent and beliefs of the politicized Religious Right and those claiming that status of "advocates for the American family" come to be revealed. As they become more confident, they are more forward and honest with their intent.

The following articles from the Focus on the Family's CitizenUpdate demonstrates that the definition of marriage is not simply a union between a man and a woman, which excludes gay couples, but even more a union between a man and a woman that must be condoned or sanctioned or approved (blessed) by a religious ceremony. The next public revelation will be that the approval is only valid when done by those who agree with their particular theological bent.

Here is the article:

Civil Weddings on the Rise
by Steve Jordahl, correspondent

SUMMARY: Family advocates worry about removing God from marriage ceremony.

An increasing number of couples are choosing civil marriages over religious ceremonies.

In fact, in 14 states, more than 40 percent of marriages are now being performed in a judge's chambers -- just like the ceremony Tammy Burnip just planned.

Instead of a church, a cake and a large reception, it was a civil judge in a small office who said, "I pronounce you husband and wife. Kiss the bride."

Burnip's wedding, at which the photographer was also the maid of honor, was governed by the one rule she had for the occasion: "To make it as simple as possible."

But, simplicity aside, family advocates are worried that taking God out of the wedding brings us one step closer to losing the traditional definition of marriage.

What do they consider to be the traditional definitin of marriage? Is marriage only a union blessed by a pastor and in the name of God? But then what definition of God according to whose theology?

Joshua Baker, a spokesman for the Marriage Law Project, said the numbers suggest a growing confusion about what marriage is really about.

Their honest idea of what marriage truly is will not fly in this country. Try to tell the 40% that their marriage is not real and not true because it was sealed before a judge rather than a minister or priest.

"Is marriage a religious ceremony, is it a civil package of benefits and rights that the government confers upon people, or is it really the cultural institution which has been the basis of our society?" Baker asked.

Such confusion plays right into the hands of those who want to redefine the institution to allow any number of alternatives, according to Dr. Allan Carlson, director of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.

"I think that does fuel . . . the advocates for making marriage a much more plastic -- and, by that, a much less meaningful -- institution," Carlson said.

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Monday, October 06, 2003

Stephen Bennett Ministries recently launched a radio commentary show lasting one minute or so called StraightTalk. He comments on the political, cultural, and social aspects of the plague of homosexuality and his belief that God's intent is to change people. Today's commentary suggests a new television reality series for Bravo to counter the hit series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy entitled Christian Guys for the Queer Guy. Click on the link above to find the audio link - you should listen.

Bennett suggests that the new reality show would consist of five Christian guys that make over a homosexual guy into the manly heterosexual man God always intended him to be. The weekly series would chronicle the amazing transformation the queer guy goes through as God changes him into a heterosexual.

You know what, they should do the show!

However, just like the ex-gay and anti-gay Christian groups are now demanding fairness and even handedness from all aspects of society to present the ex-gay propaganda gospel, Bravo should be even handed in presenting all the struggles and failures of gay guys trying to be straight guys. If there was ever an opportunity to debunk ex-gay propaganda - the ideological, pseudo-scientific, and theological mess - this would be it. The show would be the best commentary on the negative impact and false claims of the ex-gay movement. Most assuredly there would be people who are helped with all manor of addictions, with loneliness, with emotional problems, and even with sexual and gender confusion issues, but one thing the show would prove, if the people involved are honest, is that homosexuals are not changed into heterosexuals.

Bring on the show! Not counting the fact that it would be a ratings flop (I think), the ex-gay movement would pull the show soon enough because of the continuing failures of the guys to live up to their own propaganda. Read this article appearing in March 11, 2002 issue of Christianity Today entitled, "No Easy Victory". If this person were the queer guy the Christian-5 made over, there might well be far fewer people seeking out ex-gay ministries.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2003

I've been debating with myself (no comments, please) about being more specific with the different weblogs I have, some of which are simply replacements for regular webpages for the sake of convenience. Anyway, I'm going to attempt, I think, to be more diligent in placing gay/ex-gay/ex-ex-gay/homosexual issues in my "Gay/Ex-gay Weblog". The other option is to simply put everything here, but then...

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Monday, September 29, 2003

Yesterday, I was officially introduced to my field-placement parish as their new seminarian. Here is what the printed announcements said, "We are privileged and very happy to welcome to St. Paul's Mr. Robert Griffith, as student at The General Theological Seminary who will be serving as our Seminarian. Mr. Griffith is a Candidate for Holy Orders from the Diocese of Ohio. Please introduce yourself to him, and by all means remember him in your prayers."

I like the last half of the last sentence the most, because I certainly need them! Officially, I'm not quite a candidate yet, just a lowly Postulant. Candidacy will be this spring. Father Cullen, the Rector, mentioned also that he didn't want anyone coming up to him and telling him that they don't like me, because he does. This is a great little Anglo-Catholic parish with an incredible history. I think I am very fortunate to have landed at this place. The church is St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Carroll St. in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn.

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Thursday, September 25, 2003

Go study, go study, go study....

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I gotta study and I don't wanna! Please don't make me read any more about Medieval English Christianity! Please cancel the paper on Julian of Norwich! Please don't make us right a book review, picking 12 topics to write on from Pastors and the Care of Souls in Medieval England! Actually, the discussion on Trinity (what the heck?) during Systematics was quite good. I tend to dominate. I need to quit doing that, but I process out loud, and repeating all that Patristics stuff helps me remember it.

Of course, then there is Liturgics. Do an analysis of "Space" at St. Thomas, 5th Ave., and St. Peters Lutheran, somewhere in Mid-town, and write a long paper on it. What does the "space" say about the church's theology of community, nation, individual, movement, eucharist, involvement, yadda, yadda, yadda. Ugghhhhh....... Actually, it is interesting. I'm just complaining, which I know I need to stop doing because I am bugging people. What, then, Pastoral Theology and Homiletics.

I'm also not studying!

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Listening to a piece on the Texas Legislature's redistricting problems on NPR, I heard it said that the legislature used to be known for its bipartisanism - even going so far as to declare itself the best functioning legislature in the world. It is Texas, after all. Anyway, the thought struck me as they were describing all the rancor between Democrats and Republicans, and now that the runaway democratic legislators have returned to the state, between the Republicans themselves, that the breakdown in the ability of our legislators, whether state or national, to govern is analogous to American Christianity's inability to work through the theological and cultural wars going on now. Which came first, rancorous and intransient legislators refusing to work together to solve state and national problems, or the rancorous and intransient religious leaders refusing to work together to present to the world a faith that doesn’t go about destroying itself? Who influenced whom? Has the Religious Right, in demanding that the world recognize their particular brand of theological understanding and praxis as they only legitimate expression of Christianity, so influenced politics that politicians now define their party's political theory and praxis as the only expression of good ol' American patriotism, or the other way around. Or something like that.

I do not know enough about the history of it all, but do understand that religious and political wars have been with us from the beginning. It seems to me that as the fundamentalist liberal Christians infused liberal politics in the '70's and as the fundamentalist conservative Christians infused conservative politics in the '80's, politics has come out on the lesser side of success.

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Sunday, September 21, 2003

Wondering around the Web, I came across this commentary by Cal Thomas on the Judge Moore, Alabama Ten Commandments monument controversy, and thought it interesting. Thomas does not look very favorably, any longer, on the antics of the Religious Right. As a matter of fact, he and Ed Dobson wrote a book I have yet to read, but am interested in reading, entitled, Blinded by Might. Here is the link to the article. I found the article through The Blinne Blog

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Saturday, September 20, 2003

No dramatic event. The storm came and went without much fanfare in the city. Is it a bit wrong to hope for a very dramatic event when I know people may (MAY) be hurt and property lost, just for the thrill of it? Yes, probably, but I still would have liked to have seen some drama this far north. There was a good bit of wind and at Ashton's place in New Jersey there were a lot of tree limbs fallen, and there was some rain. All is calm this morning. I do feel badly for all the terrible things that happened to people just a little further south were Isabel actually hit. It is not a good thing, not really a thrilling thing when others suffer loss, just a terrible thing.

The controversy continues to pull at the existence of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Things will never be the same, as much as many liberals want to think this is just another "women's ordination" type issue. There are more than just a few people, both lay and ordained, that are dismayed at the events of General Convention. People are not happy. Many people are absolutely dismayed that the Church would do such a thing. I just read an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the Bishop of Atlanta's first open forum on Robinson's election and the affirmative vote from the diocesan delegates. American society in general is not in a happy mood over homosexuality in general, and of course this translates into the Church. There is no joy. There is no victory. There has to be a third way!

There are a lot of seminarians from Atlanta - probably the largest single contingent from any diocese. Some of them must be very careful about their orientation being made known because of the feelings resident in their sponsoring parish, others have no problem. It is a hard road to navigate.

The issue of Robinson and homosexuality in general has infused many examples given in our classes, the most pertinent being Pastoral Theology. It feels so odd knowing that arbitrary examples given and topics discussed in class relates directly to me - and not me alone but of my kind... a kind not of choice or want, but that simply is. There is almost a surreal aspect to it. Two people discussing the issue and there we sit. General is very supportive and has gay faculty, but knowing that this whole issue is over what and who I am and seeing the Church pull itself apart over - me, my kind - is disconcerting.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2003

This semester is going to kill me. I'm not even finished with the second week and I've been unable to complete most of my reading (which truly is impossible anyway, but one would think I would have gotten most of it done). I have a paper due on Thursday afternoon (tomorrow) and I have hardly begun the reading - The Venerable Bede, father of Medieval and Patristic church history in England. When, I ask you - when?, am I going to be able to finish this paper?

I have no clue whether my illness last spring was due to stress or whether stress may have contributed to the problem, but so far this term I'm headed in the same direction. I can't. At least the accountability of a running group will help me practice a little more consistently the whole "self-care" thing they talk about so much here. I think I am going to have to tell Father Wright that I cannot have a paper ready for him by Thursday, come what may. I could hand in anything, but I do want to do a good job.

Besides, the retreat is this weekend. Too bad most of it will be consumed by my attempt to catch up on my reading for classes.

I read in the chapel for the first time for yesterday's Evening Prayer. That one is down, now. What am I doing writing this at 4:50 am?

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I was quoted in the New York Post yesterday. The Times would have been better, but I'll take what I can get. :-)

Fred Phelps and his cronies were protesting the first day of classes of the Harvey Milk High School. The school is for LGBT students where were so harassed and abused in their regular public school that this is their last option. So, Fred was there to make sure the kids knew that they were hell-bound, that according to Leviticus they should be put to death, and that they are destroying the nation. The Post estimated about 200 counter-protesters, including around 17 of us from General. Here is the paragraph:

"Religion and holy writ were also invoked by many of the more than 200 people, most of them New Yorkers, who turned up to support the students, who were quickly ushered past police barricades into the school. 'I'm here as a Christian,' said supporter Bob Griffith, 42," (okay, so they got my age wrong!) "of Manhattan. 'The kind of sentiment being expressed [by the protesters] is not true to what God would have us do.'"

There you have it. I wonder if that is my fifteen minutes of fame? Being in the Gay People's Chronicle in Cleveland several times isn't quite the same as the New York Post, I suppose.

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Monday, September 08, 2003

We had an eventful morning. Fred Phelps and his crew were protesting the first day of classes for students of the Harvey Milk High School in Manhattan. Several of us from the seminary went up to counter Phelps and support the students. I look forward and see more prohibition's taking up the non-hypocritical and consistent application of the Levitical verses on homosexual conduct by demanding death for sodomites, as one of Phelps' signs indicated. As prohibition's argument after prohibition's argument falls by the wayside, the only route left is to get straight to the point - obey the Old Testament, Levitical prescription for death to those men who engage in such behavior.

A former staff leader of the Christian Coalition, who left because he thought they were not being faithful enough, said that until the Religious Right demands what scripture demands - the death penalty for those who engage in homosexual acts - God will not bless the Religious Right's effort to stop homosexuality.

This is only the consistent way to apply these scriptures in the way they want to use these scriptures. Else, they have to give up the use of the O.T. verses coming under the Levitical Law.

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Sunday, September 07, 2003

At times it seems that the American culture/policy is the Wall Mart of the world - we move in, cut the prices until all the locals are out of business, and then just pull out when our margins are high enough. Sometimes, it seems like the politicized Evangelical church is the Wall Mart of Christianity - they bully their way in, demand that everyone accept their definitions, their theological determinations, and in the minds of the majority of unchurched Americans declare that they are the only true vain of Christianity - the only true Christians, God's chosen. In politics, they (politicized Evangelicalism, remember) proclaim they are the salvation of all cultural wrongs, all personal foibles and proclivities because their mind is God's mind - legalistic righteousness. Granted, they generally don't skip town when the margins are too low, but according to their way of thinking, it doesn't matter that there are already present viable and vibrant Christian assemblies who do not share their views on theology, worship, living, aesthetics, and just about anything else. Since they are the low-price leader, the rest of these quaint, outdated, and presumably losing ventures need to move aside while they take care of the locals.

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Thursday, September 04, 2003

This is going to be a tough semester. I'm simply going to have to focus on a couple subjects and let the others go.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Tomorrow begins the second year, our Middler year. I can't get over how quickly one year passed.

My biggest failing right now is discipline. I have regained all the weight I lost during my illness, which isn't all bad, but I didn't want to gain it all back from eating a poor diet, which is what I have done. Discipline in the way I eat. My sleeping patterns are all out of wack, which has to do in part to a very flexible schedule this past summer, and in part to Ashton, and in part to just not caring that much, but now, I have to. Discipline to go to bed and get up in a consistent manner - in bed by 10:30 pm and up by 5:30 am! Study, well, studying will be as studying is. Discipline to set aside ample time and to stay focused. Disciple with my health - to work out and run! Quiet-time, which I thing as a seminarian, is the most vital part of my life and day. This is perhaps my greatest failing of discipline. Discipline to be with God in that thin-space every morning in order to have peaceful and effective life. A life in order is a good thing indeed, especially if there is so much to be accomplished and that I want to accomplish. Too much stuff, really, to accommodate.

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Sunday, August 31, 2003

I picked up our pictures from Trapeze School. It was simply too fun! The pictures of Ashton came out wonderfully. He will be quite surprised when he sees them because he thought he did so poorly, which of course he did not. A wonderful surprise for a first anniversary.

It is difficult to put my finger on what I am thinking and feeling right now. The seminary is fine - what I expected. The academics are good. Living in the city is no problem whatsoever. I just don't fit. Roommates, classmates, and the equivalents are fine as it goes, but when watching Jason, Sara, Sonia, Valerie, and Nick seeing each other for the first time since spring and their enthusiasm of seeing a close friend again, it hits home that there is not a person like that for me - a soulmate, a buddy, whatnot, in the seminary. I wanted to be in a place that was going to challenge me, and when there the realization is that most people to not share many of my... what? Sometimes, it feels like compromise, sometimes just a little bit lonely. I am so thankful for Ashton.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Okay, here is Beloit College's latest rendition of the characteristics of those entering class of 2007, those born in 1985. The school comes out with this list every year to help administrators and professors understand the worldview of new freshmen. Here is the class of 2007:

1. The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1985.
2. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era and probably did not know he had ever been shot.
3. They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.
4. There has been only one pope in their lifetime.
5. They were 10 when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War.

6. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up on takeoff.
7. Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.
8. Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
9. Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums.
10. The statement "You sound like a broken record" means nothing to them. (They have never owned a record player.)

11. They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.
12. They may have never heard of an 8-track tape. The compact disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.
13. They have always had an answering machine.
14. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black and white TV.
15. They have always had cable.

16. There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what Beta was.
17. They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
18. They don't know what a cloth baby diaper is or know about the "Help me, I've fallen and I can't get up!" commercial.
19. They were born the year that Walkman was introduced by Sony.
20. Roller skating has always meant inline for them.

21. Michael Jackson has always been white.
22. Jay Leno has always been on "The Tonight Show."
23. They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
24. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
25. They have never seen Larry Bird play.

26. They never took a swim and thought about "Jaws."
27. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as World War I, World War II, and the Civil War.
28. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
29. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
30. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from. (The correct answer, by the way, is Ork.)

31. They never heard: "Where's the beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," or "De plane, de plane!"
32. They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. was.
33. Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not bands.
34. There has always been MTV.
35. They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

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Monday, August 25, 2003

This morning, the New York Trapeze School! Ashton took me to the school for our first anniversary. More later...

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Friday, August 15, 2003

Here is the latest from the American Anglican Council (a conservative/traditionalist anti-gay group that does not support the ordination of women). This group was a primary force against the election of Gene Robinson and the approval of same-sex union rites. There are many things about the group that I like and much that I disagree with.

This is the group, aside from the Anglican Mission in America, that is appealing to the outside conservative Anglican primates for help. As much as they claim an Anglican ethos, they are behaving in a very unanglican way by threatening schism if they don't get their way.

Here is the latest letter from the AAC president:

August 15, 2003

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The General Convention of our Episcopal Church has left me with shock, disappointment and a heavy heart. At the same time I feel a new hope for the mainstream Anglican Communion, and your and my participation in it.

As you know, the Episcopal Church made two grievous decisions last week that have shattered the Anglican family. In giving its consent to the election of Gene Robinson and by approving same-sex marriage, the Episcopal Church has departed from the historic faith and order of the Anglican Communion as well as the Church of Jesus Christ. We are now left with a severe pastoral crisis and a likely realignment of the Anglican Communion.

This is not the outcome that the AAC had desired, but we did prepare ourselves for this possibility. The AAC's primary goal at General Convention was to take a bold and uncompromising stand for the Gospel. Our Convention theme was "GOD IS" and we proclaimed the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every way that we were able. Our 200 plus volunteers poured out their very hearts and souls to try to keep the Church on the one true path and to share the transforming love of Jesus. I am proud of the job that our hundreds of people did, covering the many aspects of General Convention. They were an army of the Lord. That is why, even in our defeat on the two key issues, I have great confidence and peace that we fulfilled God's purpose for us at Convention. Ultimately, I believe that God used the AAC to help force the Episcopal Church to make a choice between God's way or the way of the world. Tragically, ECUSA chose the world's way, and thus, ECUSA has left the Anglican family, at least as far as doctrine, discipline, and Biblical Authority is concerned.

But while this outcome is not what we would have wished, it has actually given us a new clarity and direction. It is now abundantly clear that God has a new and exciting plan for mainstream Anglicans in America. I believe that we will begin to see this plan unfold over the next several months.

I now see God calling the AAC, in concert with others, to gather together mainstream Anglicans from within the Episcopal Church to chart a new course, under the guidance of the Anglican Primates, that will enable us to remain an active and faithful part of the vibrant and growing Anglican family and to refocus all of our energies once again on growing God's kingdom.

But the challenge of this new call is great. The AAC must now quickly and completely restructure itself. I am very concerned that the huge pastoral, financial, communication, administrative and event coordination burdens (and opportunities) we now face could overwhelm us. The AAC received a stunningly high level of visibility at Convention, and now so many people both inside and outside the Church are watching the AAC closely. Episcopal parishes and individuals are seeking our leadership and help, and it is critical that we are able to provide that leadership. We have literally received many thousands of emails, letters and phone calls from people who are grieving and looking for a way forward and who are now turning to the AAC for hope.

This is one of the pivotal moments in the history of the Christian Church. I can't emphasize this enough. What happens during the next several months will impact Christiansworldwide. Therefore, in order for us to lead effectively during this historic moment and meet the huge new demands on our organization, the AAC is in URGENT need of your financial support. As president of the AAC, I need your help to insure that we can help lead mainstream Anglicans in the Episcopal Church wherever God is calling us to go. I also need your help to ensure that the AAC can continue to be a bold voice for biblical truth in our desperately broken world.

Your gift will help us with the following:

1. Preparing for the critical meeting of mainstream Anglicans in Plano, TX (Oct. 7-9, 2003). Thousands may well attend.

2. Enabling essential global coordination and strategizing between mainstream Anglican Primates and other mainstream Anglican leaders worldwide.

3. Hiring additional staff members to take on the exponentially increased ministry workload we now face.

4. Establishing an Anglican Relief and Development Fund, to help offset grants that the Episcopal Church cancels when Primates support Anglican orthodoxy.

I would be grateful if you would speak with your vestry to see if they could write the AAC into your parish monthly support. If you are in an orthodox diocese, perhaps they would be willing to help support the work we are embarking on.

You also can personally contribute online right now by visiting our secure contribution page at:

Challenging and exciting days lie ahead. We have crossed into uncharted territory. The crisis in the Anglican Communion is unprecedented, but rest assured God is sovereign. Nothing the Episcopal Church has said or done can change that fundamental truth.

Thank you for any financial support you are able to give. If you have given recently and are not able to give again we do understand. Encourage your friends to help raise support. Please keep the AAC in your prayers, and especially pray for the personal safety of our leaders. Also, I ask you to please continue standing with the AAC over the next several months as events such as the Plano meeting and the extraordinary gathering of the worldwide Anglican Primates (October 15-16, 2003) unfold. Be sure to also read the document "What do I do now?" which is posted on the AAC website.

May God bless you and keep you during the difficult days ahead.

Faithfully in Christ Jesus,

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson

President and CEO

American Anglican Council

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Wednesday, August 13, 2003

My aunt died suddenly, yesterday. I grew up with these people - my aunt, uncle, and cousin. My parents called early yesterday morning to tell me that around 1:30 am my aunt woke up my uncle complaining that she couldn't breath. My uncle took her into the living room, where she passed out. He performed CPR on her and called 911. She arrived at the hospital around 25 minutes later - she was put on life-support. It was confirmed later yesterday that she was brain-dead, probably from a blood clot in her lungs. Last year, she successfully fought breast cancer, only to die so suddenly, so quickly, before anyone could say goodbye. I'm sure within the immediate family, all the necessary talking happened last year when the possibility of her death from breast cancer was thick.

Things can change so quickly. I'm flying home today for visit before classes start up again in a couple weeks. I have no idea what is going to be happening this coming week. Life goes on, and part of life is death, and if I truly believe what I claim to believe, then she is better off now then yesterday. For those who love her, however, the struggle in the midst of life, this kind of struggle, is just beginning.

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Saturday, August 09, 2003

Just a casual observation: Over the past month or so, it seems the dogs on the streets of New York City have determined to follow their own desires, path, ways, rather than those of their owners. Watching people walk their dogs on leashes has become comical because the owners are pulling and cajoling their dogs to go this way or that, and the dogs are steadfastly refusing. This is even more comical when the dogs are large and the owners are slight. To see a person pulling and pulling a dog, calling "here boy, here boy" all the while the dog is sitting down and still and moving not an inch is amusing. Maybe I am more cognizant of all that right now, but it sure does seem to be happening more often. Who knows? Who knew? Who cares? Well, the owners certainly do!

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Wednesday, August 06, 2003

One of the primary accusations from those who oppose homosexuality in the Church (conservatives) of those who advocate for full inclusion (liberals), is that liberals have abandoned scripture, since according to most conservatives scripture could not be clearer that homosexuality is wrong. I simply do not understand why liberals do not challenge the accusation in a more forceful way. There are valid arguments that the five or six verses and portions of scripture used to condemn homosexuals have not been correctly understood by the Church, even if for 2000 years (actually the argument is only several decades old!). Arguments from natural law, the complementary nature between men and women, the purpose of marriage is for the rearing of children, the example from nature, the plumbing, the ‘dysfunction’ of the gay ‘lifestyle’, and so forth are easily countered.

I fear that the liberals do not because they may not consider scripture an important enough source of truth and order to make the rebuttal. If this is true, which I suspect it is, then the conservatives accusation that the liberals have abandoned scripture as authoritative is true. This disturbs me. I know though this instance that I am not a liberal, at least as is being portrayed by self-proclaimed liberals within the Church.

If there is not a valid scriptural basis for inclusion of homosexuals in the full life of the Church and society, even in light of tradition and reason, then the argument for inclusion, from a Christian perspective, is on shaky ground. The positions need to be made from scripture, which is possible.

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Well, the deed is done. Gene Robinson has been confirmed the new Bishop of New Hampshire. There is great sadness and anger among so many, despite the increadible joy of others. There is a difference between the two, in many ways.

There are those who truly have an honest theological position against homosexuals serving in the clergy, at least if not celibate. There are those who understand, rightly, that the action that will cause great division and dissension between Anglicans. The Communion will dissolve into - I don't know what yet. These people are profoundly sad, with anger, too. I feel for them because they honestly don’t desire harm to anyone.

Then, there are those who are simply furious. While their concern is the purity of the Church, maintenance of theological purity, and demand that the American Church submits to the will of the larger worldwide communion, it all finges on their particular bent of thought and feeling. Many of these people are overwhelmed with political considerations, or maybe how their positions will reign supreme through the political process, since their warnings and attempts at persuasion have failed. They have not been able to persuade the American church (from the perspective of the majority at Convention) that a homosexual is not fit to be priest or bishop, or that homosexuals should not have their unions blessed. This group will reject Anglican comprehensiveness. This group claims the American church has separated itself from communion with the worldwide Anglican Communion by the election of an openly-gay bishop. Their position rests on their demand that the Church submit to its opinions and beliefs, excluding all those who have a legitimate theological positions supporting inclusion of homosexuals in the full life of the church. They claim that their position and theological bent is God's. It seems this is contrary to the Anglican way.

We just have to wait through this day to see the fallout. At times, I am just amazed that the arguments are so lacking in understanding of history – most recently, the very similar accusations of departing from the faith handed down to us, tradition, and clear biblical teaching when women were ordained priests and then bishops. There are so many examples of this type of thing happening throughout history - groups leaving in self-righteous flurry, and the church continuing. The claim is that God has spoken through Lambeth and the recent Primates meeting in Brazil, and certainly not through General Convention. The Holy Spirit has not spoken through General Convention with the election of a gay bishop because the outcome does not agree with their position, which they know is God’s position.

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Sunday, August 03, 2003

I ran into a new seminarian this past Friday. I think I saw another one moving in today. I moved to NYC last year on August 17th. It seems so odd that new people are now making their way to General and having some of the very same feelings I had then. I find it very hard to believe a year has transpired. Where did it go?

I remember towards the end of August last year saying to myself, "I will be sitting somewhere thinking how quickly a year passed. This year is going to go far more quickly than I can expect." So then, here I am, and it has! Yea verily, as Leighton would say, this whole experience will soon be over.

Ashton came with me to Ascension today and stayed for both services. He heard my homily at 9:00 and saw me doin' the stuff at 11:00. Man were the vestments horribly, horribly hot in this humid whether. He said I did well.

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Monday, July 28, 2003

Now, this is an interesting finding! Doctors: Pedophile 'Cured' After Surgery

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I just read this from The Anglican Digest. I am thinking it may be one of those small items that change a basic perception of things! It was written in 1991 by The Very Rev. George Back, then Dean (and maybe still?) of St. Paul's Cathedral in Oklahoma City. It was reprinted by The Anglican Digest in light of what we are going through right now.

Conservatives? Liberals?
"I have heard rumors that conflicts between conservatives and liberals are tearing the Church apart. Don't believe it

"Few of these people exist. I have had letters and phone calls from some who claim to be one or the other. As far as I can tell, they are impostors. Of course, I can only judge from their behavior.

"If the Church had many conservatives, the buildings would be packed on Sundays as they keep the Sabbath holy. Our Church would have money since they would tithe 10% of their income. Our Church life would be glorious as they would undertake all the traditional Sunday School, retreat, and holy day obligations. An authentic personal morality would be exemplified in their holy lifestyles.

"If the Church had many liberals, they would be enthusiastically including people all the time. The Church would grow as they reached out to the poor and the isolated in various ministries. Our service ministries would be overwhelmed with volunteers and resources. An authentic social conscience would be exemplified in the compassionate lifestyles.

"Judging only by behavior, the Church has too few religious conservatives and religious liberals. God bless the ones we have; they are doing wonderful work.

"Then where is the problem? There are numerous anti-conservatives and anti-liberals . These are people who compare their particular ideology with other's actual behavior. Their convenient posture enables them to be both righteous and removed at the same time.

"Both know that others need to change their bad habits. The sins, failures, hypocrisy, and mediocrity of these others provide a good reason not to attend worship and not to give money and not to serve energetically and not to love affectionately in the Lord's name.

"Religion is behavior, not theology. To worship God with all one's heart, mind, soul, and strength is not an idea, it is a practice. To love one’s neighbor as an 'idea' is an illusion. Love must take up space and time; it costs lots of money and much energy.

"Church is a place for religious behavior, where one worships God and serves God's children. It is large enough to include true religious conservatives and true religious liberals, since they only emphasize one or the other aspect of religion.

"The Church will never be at peace until the commitment to God and the Gospel of our Lord take priority over any personal warp to some left or right ideas. People who have a primary commitment to their own opinions and a secondary interest in religion always threaten to destroy the Church.

"What good reason and right opinion do you have to excuse yourself from the costly practice of true religion?" (emphasis mine).

Well said, I think.

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Two days until the General Convention and a possible rift, a serious rift, in the worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality - particularly in the U.S. over the approval by the Convention of the recent election of a new bishop of New Hampshire, who is openly gay and living with a long-time partner. As Barrie said yesterday, "be rest assured, regardless of what you hear, this is not the first gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. He is just honest about it." Or, of the approval of the beginning stages of writing a rite for the blessing of same-sex unions.

As I said yesterday at Ascension, this whole affair is causing me a great deal of distress. I came to the Episcopal Church, really Anglicanism, because there was an allowance for a wide variety of often divergent opinions within the communion, yet everyone stayed together despite the rough and tumble world the allowance caused within the different Church provinces, dioceses, and parishes. The debate and argument brought balance. In my opinion, it brings about better theology and practice. There is less the attitude of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist side of the Church to say, "my way or the highway." So, now, over this issue, I see the Communion fraying. The conservatives are threatening to leave, to break communion, to cause schism. I understand fully that there are times when we have to draw lines in the sand. What causes me concern, and adds to my distress, is not so much the issue-of-the-day, which is homosexuality today, but the way we are going about dealing with our differences – the process of drawing lines in the sand. I think the conservatives within Anglicanism have been far too influenced by the Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches which have no problem whatsoever in splitting up, making accusation, and attempting to decide who is in and who is out of the Family of God.

So, here is the line in the sand for Anglican conservatives - homosexuality. It was women's ordination in the '70's. It will be something else during the next decade. The issues are not the problem, because there will always be issues, but how the differences of opinion concerning those issues are dealt with is the problem. The way this issue is being dealt with now, worldwide and in this province/country, is not the Anglican way. It is the way of the world and the way of the wayward Church, which thinks that one part can say to another part, "I have no need of you." Of course, Jesus and Paul said a lot about that, did they not?

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Saturday, July 26, 2003

Here is a great commentary concerning gay marriage, which I came across on the Ex-gay Watch website. It says in a very cogent way what I have been thinking for some time, especially what a conservative position should really be on this issue. Most people on the prohibitionist side, especially the politicized Religious Right, do not argue from a philosophically conservative (political) position, but from a theologically conservative position made to look like a political position. Who speaks for philosophical conservatism? It is not most of the Religious Right!

Here is the link to the article, Rondi Adamson in the Christian Science Monitor

This is the best part, for me:

"I often feel the natural place for a gay person is on the right. Conservatives should be all about an individual's right to his or her own life, his or her own business, without the interference of hypersensitive, offended others. And it follows that true conservatives ought to support gay marriage, particularly those partial to family values. It's difficult to argue that society doesn't benefit from stable relationships. And what better way to encourage stable relationships than to support gay marriage? It is hard not to snicker at the idea that same-sex marriages would threaten straight ones. We straight people in Canada and the US have done a good job of bringing the divorce rate close to 50 percent all on our own."

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Okay, here is the latest from the prohibitionist side. I'm sure we are going to have some very good debates during classes come fall term, just a month and a half away. Tomorrow, Sunday, I will be speaking on this topic at the 9:00 am service at my field placement parish - Church of the Ascension on 5th Ave. I particularly like what Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of South Africa said, referring to member primates acting like the Archbishop of Canterbury. Since they do not consider the A.B.C. to be doing his job - condemning homosexuals - then they will take it upon themselves to act in his sted. Since they do not consider the A.B.C. to be doing his job, they then will do his job for him and determine who is in and who is out of the Communion. (Technically this is not possible. They may determine that they will no longer be in communion with provinces or dioceses that accommodate homosexuals, but it is only the See of Canterbury who can determine who is part of the official Anglican Communion. After leaving, they may say they are the true Anglicans, but by their leaving they have proven that they are in fact not because they have violated one of the major tenants of the Anglican ethos, and if the See of Canterbury does not recognize their province, then they are in fact out.) Even while I was part of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Pentecostal side of the Church, I recognized that many within this group of people like to do such things. They will take upon themselves the role of God and determine who is in and who is out of the Church, the Body of Christ, those who have been reconciled to God (or in their vernacular, saved). The self-proclaimed conservatives in the American province continually try to usurp authority and property. It has always been the same going back centuries.

I am sympathetic to some of their claims, such as a drift away from biblical authority and reliance and relativism, but in the same way, they charge the liberals of going to far, so they also go too far. Maybe it will be better to just get it all over with so they can leave and we all can get on with the more important things, except that our witness as Anglicans - to be able to stay together in union despite our very different ways of looking at our Christian lives and theology - will be once again be shot. Anyway, here is the article:

July 24, 2003


Group ‘prepared to respond' if General Convention affirms
Robinson, blessing rite

by Jan Nunley

(ENS) A group of 62 Anglicans and Episcopalians, including some
primates and bishops of the Anglican Communion, held a press
conference July 23 to announce that they are "prepared to
respond" if the Episcopal Church's General Convention either
confirms the election of the Rev. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New
Hampshire or directs the Standing Commission on Liturgy and
Music to prepare blessing rites for couples living in committed
relationships outside marriage. The convention begins July 30 in
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The group gathered in secret at Truro Episcopal Church in
Fairfax, Virginia, for two days to craft their statement. "The
proposed actions by General Convention…would shatter the
church," the statement said. "The American bishops at this
meeting have prayed, planned and are prepared to respond as
faithful members of the Anglican Communion. Should these events
occur, the majority of the Primates anticipate convening an
extraordinary meeting at which they too will respond to the
actions of General Convention."

Element of surprise

But under questioning by reporters, the group refused to divulge
any specific plans. "Action will happen," said Archbishop Peter
Akinola of the Church of Nigeria. Another spokesman for the
group, the Rev. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the Diocese
of South Carolina, explained, "We are trying to preserve an
element of surprise. That is part of the strategy here."

Asked if it will make a difference if, say, Robinson were
confirmed but the liturgy resolution failed, Akinola said, "No.
Either one will cause a split. They are inextricably linked."

Plea for mutual accountability

On the same day the statement was released, Archbishop of
Canterbury Rowan Williams sent a letter to Anglican primates
asking them to maintain "mutual accountability," not just on
matters of sexuality but on issues such as lay presidency at the
Eucharist and "alternative episcopal oversight" for dissenting

"We do not have a central executive authority in our Communion;
this means we are quite vulnerable in times of deep
disagreement, and need more than ever to pay attention to one
another," Williams wrote. "… This is not to recommend a refusal
to face circumstances or to avoid conflict at all costs. It is
to acknowledge that who we are as Christians is connected to the
worldwide fellowship to which we belong. Within a living
Communion, we should never find ourselves in the position of
saying, or seeming to say, to each other, ‘[I have no need of
you' (I Cor. 12.21)."

Claiming a majority

The statement claimed that the signers represent "a majority of
the world's 75 million Anglicans." Exact numbers are hard to
come by, but according to the Anglican Communion Secretariat's
figures, the seven primates listed represent a little more than
20 million members out of 76,650,449 worldwide -- 26 percent of
the total.

When asked how many primates agreed with the group, Akinola
responded, "Most primates are here in spirit. We know the mind
of a good number of primates." He would only confirm being in
contact with "6 or 7" of the primates.

Most of the names on the list are familiar as conservative
activists in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
Many have signed previous statements declaring their discontent
with moves towards the full inclusion of homosexuals in the
Episcopal Church, and are members or officers of advocacy groups
such as the American Anglican Council, Forward in Faith/North
America, and the Institute for Religion and Democracy.

Ten of the 15 American bishops are "bishops with jurisdiction,"
eligible to vote on Robinson's consecration. Their dioceses
represent 185,766 communicants, some 9% of the American church.
The clergy listed represent congregations with a combined
average attendance of approximately 10,500 members.

A stream of statements

The Truro statement follows an "Open Letter to the Concerned
Primates of the Anglican Communion," issued July 15 by 24
Episcopal Church bishops, who declared themselves to be in a
state of "impaired communion," or broken relationship, with the
Canadian Diocese of New Westminster, which has authorized
liturgies for blessing same-sex partnerships. They also
committed to commit to "common responses" to what they described
as "the deteriorating situation within the Episcopal Church"
over homosexuality.

In early June, fourteen of the 38 Anglican primates charged that
"by deliberately and intentionally abandoning the established
Anglican consensus, [the bishop of New Westminster] placed
himself and his diocese in an automatic state of impaired
communion with the majority within the Anglican Communion."

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold wrote to the primates July 22,
asking for their understanding of the difference in context
between their provinces and the American church over the
understanding of human sexuality. "Over these last five years I
have continually reminded our church that we are part of a
larger reality called the Anglican Communion, and that what we
do locally has ramifications both positive and negative in other
parts of the world," Griswold said. "At the same time I am
mindful that each of us has to interpret the gospel in our own
context and within the particular reality of our own Province;
there is no such thing as a neutral reading of Scripture. While
we all accept the authority of Scripture, we interpret various
passages in different ways."

At least one African primate has already come out publicly
against the Truro statement. "I believe that it is wrong and
contrary to our Anglican Tradition and understanding of Canon
Law to presume to interfere in the affairs of another Province,"
said Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of South Africa. "Such
actions are a major threat to the fabric of our Communion. Let
us respect the integrity of each Province.

"It would be profoundly inappropriate for any Province or any
group of Provinces to presume to take on a role which properly
belongs to the See of Canterbury, and with the whole Communion
acting with the See of Canterbury."


--The Rev. Jan Nunley is deputy director of Episcopal News
Service. Additional material for this story was provided by
Stratton Edwards of the Office of Government Relations."

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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Lots of stuff has been going on, but no time to deal with them all. I am writing more and more in my paper journal - I just like it better. Coming next week, we have the triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA. This is a defining moment for the Episcopal Church with larger implications for the entire worldwide Anglican Communion. The Rev. Dr. Jeffries John was appointed Suffragan Bishop in Reading, England. Because of the outrage and stated intent to no longer be in communion with the Church of England by conservative Provinces in Africa/Asian/Third World in the Communion, he resigned stating he did not want to be the center of schism and disunity. Now, the conservative Bishops/Provinces are saying the same about ending communion with the Episcopal Church USA because of the new Bishop-elect of New Hampshire, who is gay and in an open long-term same-sex relationship. There are many elements with the Episcopal Church itself who will not stand for the election of an openly gay bishop in a relationship, despite the fact that the national Church can do nothing in and of itself to stop the election of a diocesan bishop.

Schism, I'm sure, will come if the House of Bishops votes to affirm the decision of the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire. This isn't an appointment, as in England. This is a situation of members within a diocese electing their new bishop. Many people will leave the Episcopal Church if the new bishop is affirmed. This is the line in the sand for many. Of course, there have been many lines-in-the-sand over the last millennia.

Here is the latest letter sent by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA to the other Anglican Primates around the world. I think it is a very good letter! One consideration that those who are threatening schism will not acknowledge is that if they chose to no longer be a part of the Episcopal Church USA or if their province will no longer be in communion with the Episcopal Church USA, that changes nothing, absolutely nothing, with regards to who is a member of the Body of Christ, the one true, Holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Members of the Body of Christ are determined by Christ, not the councils of "man." So, they say they will no longer be members or in communion with us - it is a meaningless statement because we are all still part of the one Body, whether any of us like it or not. We do not have a chose of who is in and who is out of that Body, even though we can determine with whom we associate. However, the association of like-minded people does not make the Body exclusively theirs or ours, no matter what we say or want.

Here is the letter. It is rather long, but good.

July 22, 2003


For the Primates of the Anglican Communion

My dear brothers in Christ:

I write you on the eve of the General Convention of the
Episcopal Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to let you know some
of what is on my mind and heart during these days of prayer and

I am aware that earlier this month a letter was sent to
"concerned primates" from a number of bishops of the Episcopal
Church, USA outlining what they called a "deteriorating
situation within the Episcopal Church and elsewhere." They
particularly pointed to two matters that will be before our
General Convention: one pertaining to the confirmation of the
bishop-elect of the Diocese of New Hampshire and the other
dealing with the authorization of the development of rites for
the blessing of same sex unions which would then be brought to
the General Convention of 2006 for debate.

The polity of our church places the election of a bishop and the
nomination process which precedes it entirely in the hands of
the electing diocese. The election then must be confirmed by a
majority of the diocesan standing committees (made up of clergy
and laity) and by bishops with jurisdiction, each voting
separately. When an election occurs within 120 days of a
General Convention, the General Convention becomes the
consenting body. Each bishop-elect must first gain the consent
of a majority of the dioceses in the House of Deputies, which is
comprised of elected clergy and lay members from each diocese.
Next, ballots will be received from bishops with jurisdiction
and the bishop-elect must receive a majority of those votes, as

At this General Convention ten dioceses will present
bishops-elect for consent. The Diocese of New Hampshire and
their bishop-elect are the focus of attention, not because of
the competency and gifts of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson, or
because he was elected overwhelmingly by the clergy and laity of
a diocese in which he has served for 28 years, but because he
shares his life with a partner of the same sex. As Presiding
Bishop and chief pastor, my concern, as I said in a letter to
our bishops, is "how we move with grace through this time." I
am including a copy of this letter for your information.

This election, though profoundly disturbing to a number of
Episcopalians, is not surprising given that increasingly in our
part of the world there is an acknowledgment that some men and
women find that their deepest affections are ordered to members
of the same sex. Our church has a number of lay persons and
clergy for whom this is true. Some have chosen the path of
celibacy and others live within the context of a sustained
relationship. In this latter case we are not talking primarily
about sexual behavior which in both its heterosexual and
homosexual manifestations can be profoundly sinful and little
more than the compulsive pattern of lust so soundly condemned by
St. Paul. What we are talking about is the core of the personal
identity of men and women who share with us in the risen life of

I, perhaps more than anyone else, realize how very problematic
this election is for some of you, as well as for some members of
my own church, including the bishops who wrote to you. I am
also aware of the efforts that have been made to draw you into
this impending debate. Because we are members one of another in
the body of Christ through baptism and are called to share each
other's burdens, your concern is appropriate and welcome. And
may I say that I am always grateful when one of you contacts me
directly to express your concerns.

Over these last five years I have continually reminded our
church that we are part of a larger reality called the Anglican
Communion, and that what we do locally has ramifications both
positive and negative in other parts of the world. At the same
time I am mindful that each of us has to interpret the gospel in
our own context and within the particular reality of our own
Province; there is no such thing as a neutral reading of
Scripture. While we all accept the authority of Scripture, we
interpret various passages in different ways.

I believe that the report of the House of Bishops Theology
Committee, which was shared with you, can be helpful here. In a
section entitled Living In Disagreement it states: "Our present
conclusion is that equally sincere Christians, equally committed
to an orthodox understanding of the Faith we share, equally
looking to Scripture for guidance on this issue, are deeply
divided regarding questions with respect to homosexuality. It
will be crucial for all parties in this debate to ask God's
blessing on their ever-deepening conversion in Christ, and to
pray for God's love and forgiveness to be granted to all.
Faithfulness and the courage to offer love and acceptance to
those with whom we disagree is the great need of the moment."

As Professor David Ford told us several years ago during one of
our primates meetings, we are in the process of becoming a
communion. I have reflected often upon his words and come to
see more and more that communion is not a human construction but
a gift from God. Communion involves not only our relationships
to one another on earth but our being drawn by the Holy Spirit
into the eternal life of communion which belongs to the Holy
Trinity. Communion on this earth is always in some way
impaired, both because of our limited understanding of God's
ways and our own human sinfulness. Because we have been
baptized into one body through the death and resurrection of
Christ, we cannot say to one another "I have no need of you."(1
Corinthians 12:21) This means that maintaining communion is a
sacred obligation. It is not easy and involves patience with
one another, ongoing conversion, and a genuine desire to
understand the different ways in which we seek to be faithful to
the gospel. Declarations of being "in" or "out" of communion
with one another may assuage our anger or our fear, but they can
do little to show our broken and divided world that at the heart
of the gospel is to be found a reconciling love that can embrace
our passionately held opinions and transcend them all.

Please know how deeply I value each one of you as fellow
pilgrims on a continuing journey into the ever unfolding truth
of Christ. Grounded in Scripture, the historic creeds, the
councils of the church and the sacraments of the new covenant,
it is my prayer and deepest hope that our General Convention
will reflect the mind of Christ such that our church can be an
authentic sign of God's reconciling love.

Yours sincerely in Christ's love,

The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church, USA"

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Tuesday, July 15, 2003

What do I say? It's funny or it's odd, what word best describes what I'm thinking or feeling? Perhaps no other words except the simple expression of what is going on. Why do I feel the need to preface a remark? I have come to appreciate being by myself over the past several years, not borne of necessity, but by mounting preference. Yet, when alone, when I can do whatever I want whenever I want without the need to consider another person, a creeping sense of loneliness rises within me. I do enjoy solitude, and I know that being alone is only temporary, yet the feelings are there nonetheless. A common feeling, I suspect. Loneliness is a common condition, I know.

Sam left on Sunday, and it was quite nice seeing someone from "home." My parents left this morning, and it was very good seeing them again - my Mom's first time in New York. We walked until our feet and legs were worn out. I was looking forward to getting back to my haphazard routine - spending time reading and getting my new room in order, but as I left the Close on my way to Big Cup, this sense of dread and loneliness took hold. Why? I'm not sure, but I live through it. I'm glad Ashton is coming tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing him. I missed him this week.

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Saturday, July 05, 2003

First fireworks in NYC. Ashton and I walked to the East River (almost) to see the fireworks last night. They were great. I kept telling Ashton that the fireworks for the 4th in Akron were terrific, and they are. In comparison, New York to Akron, well, the NYC fireworks were up and down the river. The same display simultaneously repeated four times in sync along the river, so if you take one of the four displays, it was as good as the Akron fireworks, but the NYC were repeated x4. I simply love fireworks!

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Thursday, July 03, 2003

I have always considered myself to be just another "Joe" on the street. Nothing special, nothing terrific, just an average Joe. I have always fought against this feeling of elitism that creeps in from time to time as I look around me and see how people live, what they do, and what they say. Not so much that I feel elitist, but that as differences appear, I fight the fear that I might become elitist. As much as I don't want to admit it, education does bring about differences and distinctions between people. Often the distinctions make a huge difference in the institutions we find ourselves apart of and to which we are beholden. It can be embarrassing, and makes one wonder why certain people percolate to positions of influence and authority when they do nothing but cause derision or harm to their cause. Is it that they just yell more? Is it that they find people who are even less aware or rational or sensible then themselves, thus a following?

I fight an attitude of elitism. I know from where I came. I know that wisdom is born out of experience more than from education. Experience knows no boundaries between rich and poor, educated and uneducated. Wisdom is often found in what the prevailing culture believes to be most unlikely places. I know, perhaps because of my education, that I am not really just an "average Joe." If I look at our population, those with undergraduate college degrees comprise around 30% of the population (depending on which statistic one considers valid). Those with graduate degrees comprise around 5%, and those with Ph.D.'s around 3% of the population. So, what does this mean?

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I wonder about the state of the Church. Of course, many have wondered about the state of the Church since the Church began. Nothing new, nothing different, but yet another person wondering why the Church shoots itself in the foot constantly. The Church, which is a broad and undistinguished term for all the people who belong to the institution, comprised of different sects and institutions. More accurately, I suppose, the Church, no matter what should be, is really the institutions made up of the leaders and those who yell the loudest and longest. I think most people just sit on the sidelines and get riled every now and then. The leaders run the institution, whether the Roman church or a Congregational church. Anyway, there you have it.

The Church is a fallible institution because it is made up of fallible people. An institution that is destined to fail in so many ways, yet through this institution God has chosen to make His appeal. Like the Hebrews of old (and even now), God chose a people to bless and to demonstrate to the world what it is to be a people under the hand of God. Wonderful. Nevertheless, the people always rebelled and could never find it within themselves to trust God. They new better. They wanted their own way, and God allowed it. They got what they asked for. Today, under the "New Covenant" of grace, the Church takes upon itself the position of being God's representative. God chose this structure to make know what it is to live under His grace. But, like ancient Israel, we do not trust. We seem to think we know what is best for ourselves, and really for God, too. Perfection cannot be expected from the Church, even though many parts of the Church like to think they are in perfection. Self-righteousness has always been with us.

However, many within the Church do absolutely stupid things that do nothing but cause harm to the cause of Christ.

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More stuff from the court ruling prompted by another Focus on the Family e-mail update about gay marriage and public opinion.

"Most Americans Oppose Gay "Marriage," Gallup Poll Says
By Steve Jordahl, correspondent

"A majority of Americans still thinks marriage should be
limited to a man and a woman. A recent Gallup Poll found
55 percent of Americans oppose same-sex "marriage", while
only 39 percent said gay relationships should be given the
same rights and privileges as traditional marriage.

Jan LaRue, legal policy director at Concerned Women for
America, said this issue is a matter of common sense.

"This is morally repugnant to most thinking people," LaRue
said. "Thankfully, the majority will prevail as to
preserving marriage to a man and a woman."

They are depending on majority opinion for their justification of establishing laws that impinge upon the equal treatment of one group of people. By using majority opinion, they run the risk of majority opinion turning against their issue, their understanding of things, their desired morality and laws. If we look at additional studies, at least the results of which I have read from numerous sources, the trending majority opinion is against their desired end, so why continue to lift up that argument to justify their position.

As politicized Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians, when the rubber hits the road, they don't care about majority public opinion. They are simply using this argument now because it supports their position. They believe that God will support their campaigns and their positions, so therefore they will win. If their positions (which they consider God's positions) are not supported by majority opinion, it is simply proof that our culture has rejected God's ways, to our own destruction. If majority opinion does not support their positions, then they will discard majority opinion as a justification in a New York minute.

They continue to attempt to insinuate that anyone who is moral, sane, and intelligent will obviously support their position that marriage is only between one woman and one man, as the past 3,000 years of history supports. All one has to do is look at history beyond the past 200 years to see that most marriages really looked very little like marriages today, but they still attempt to demand that history support their position of one woman and one man freely marrying out of love.

Frankly, I really don't care whether gay people are allowed to bind their relationship under the same name, "marriage," as straight people, but within the civil arena gay couples whom so desire should have the same civil rights and responsibilities as straight couples who desire to legalize their relationships. This will become the prevailing policy because it is just, even just before God. Taking this position does not mean that anyone has to agree with homosexuality or stop advocating that homosexuals change. It simply means that a group who desires the same goals and morals supported by "straight marriage," has the same civil rights and responsibilities of other groups who desire the same thing – to legalize their relationships and desire to bound one to another.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2003

I'm working through my thoughts on the Supreme Court judgment concerning Texas vs. Lawrence. It is unjust, I think, that sodomy laws are applied to homosexuals and not heterosexuals. It is dangerous, however, to formulate and enact civil policy and laws based on emotion or to justify based on individual wants or thoughts. I understand that there are many who believe any kind of homosexual expression is immoral, and for the sake of social stability that the people's representatives have the right to enact laws that support the public's notion of morality. The problem is that the majority in a pure democracy can enact laws that do unjustly discriminate - it is the tyranny of the majority. Another example of the tyranny of the majority is the treatment of blacks in this country, or laws that prohibited inter-racial relationships and marriage. We live not in a pure democracy; we live in a republic where elected representatives legislated on behalf of their constituents. This offers some protection to the whims of change and the fickleness of public opinion - the tyranny of the majority. Within our system, the courts offer a counter-balance to the legislature, which can still enact on behalf of the public, unjust laws.

However, the Constitution has nothing to say about sodomy laws, whether homosexual or heterosexual. To find a Constitutional right to acts of sodomy is not plausible, it is establishing law centered on the morality held by the nine justices of the Supreme Court. I agree, I think, with Justice Thomas' statement that if he were a legislature, he would overturn the law, but as a justice, he would not because under this issue as it stands it is the responsibility of the legislature make law, not the Supreme Court. It is not the responsibility of the Supreme Court, or the court system in general, to create rights where rights were not honestly established in the Constitution. I think a more correct justification for overturning the Texas law would have been through equal protection under the law, as Justice O'Connor cited, rather than a right to privacy. Does a legislature have the right and with the support of public to pass laws establishing moral behavior. Yes, we do it all the time. Honestly, we do, that is what law is.

While I benefit from the ruling, I think it would have been better to continue our advocacy with the public in order to change their attitudes, which would eventually be reflected in legislation and the overturning of unjust laws. Having a court force the issue on an unwilling public is not the best way to honestly cause change in peoples' individual beliefs and feelings. The problem is that sometimes with some issues the length of time to cause the change in public attitudes, and thus laws, to end unjust laws unequally applied to all is the defining issue. If the Supreme Court had not acted concerning race laws, we may still have states with laws denying blacks equal access and equal treatment under the law. So, here we are with sodomy laws and the Court's ruling.

More to come, and possibly a total change of opinion. The fact is we pass laws to regulate morality all the time. To deny that is ridiculous. Is appealing to the courts for redress the best course to take? It may be the most expedient, but is it the best? I'm not sure at this point.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Since the Religious Right lost concerning their position on sodomy laws due to the recent Supreme Court ruling, they are now attempting to refocus on their arguments that the homosexual "lifestyle" is horribly unhealthy and that homosexuality should be opposed and prohibited because of the mental and physical health of homosexuals themselves. Never mind that the exact same problems exist with heterosexuals. Statistically, I have no idea which group has the greater instances per capita. Anyway, here is an e-mail update from Focus on the Family.

Texas Case Spotlights 'Gay-on-Gay' Domestic Violence
By Terry Phillips, correspondent

SUMMARY: What is the greatest danger to gays; being the
victim of a so-called "hate crime" or the victim of
violence from a partner?

The recent murder of a Texas woman by her lesbian lover
has again raised the issue of gay-on-gay domestic
violence. It's the secret homosexuals don't like to

It's not that homosexuals don't know that violence against
one another is a major problem; they just don't want it to
become common knowledge, according to Robert Knight,
director of the Culture and Family Institute in
Washington, D.C.

"Homosexual activists are worried people who don't agree
with their political agenda may seize upon this and say,
'See, this is another reason to dissuade people from
getting involved in homosexuality,' " Knight said.

The statistics prove it to be a very compelling reason.

" 'We believe as many as 650,000 gay men may be victims of
domestic violence each year in the United States,'
according to two homosexual activists who wrote a book
several inches thick on the subject," reports Gary Glenn,
president of the American Family Association in Michigan.

Other data suggests lesbian domestic violence is at least
equal in extent.

"There is a book called 'Violent Betrayal,' by Claire
Renzetti, in which she documents women are four times more
likely to be victims of domestic violence in a lesbian
household than in a married household," Knight said.

But the huge disparity is in the reality of a gay being
victimized by a partner, rather than by a gay-basher.
Glenn concluded that if mainstream media want to be
effective rather than politically correct, they would
shine the light on the semi-secret of homosexual violence
against one another.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: We suggest the following resource as
an aid for those wanting to get out of the gay lifestyle
-- or for those who know someone who might: "Helping
People Step Out of Homosexuality," By Frank Worthen.

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Monday, June 30, 2003

Let me rephrase that: Relationships are strange things. I never know where things stand, in either direction, until after the event and after the decision.

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Love is a strange thing. You never really know where you stand until after the time. At least for me.

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Thursday, June 26, 2003

I'm off to New Jersey. Going to spend time by the pool with Ashton - in this heat that will be wonderful. We got a warning via e-mail this morning. On the Close (the gardens of General), we have to watch out for "sudden branch falling." The seminary's tree doctor said that in very hot weather that comes right after a lot of rain, branches of trees can simply fall. I have no idea concerning how or why, only that it is a possibility. Interesting, huh?

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Years ago, back in the 1980's, when I was still living in Bowling Green, I contacted an ex-gay ministry called Outpost. I got a lot of information from them and corresponded with Ed Hurst, the director at the time. I never officially belonged to an ex-gay ministry, but I did buy into the whole ideology/theology. I especially liked Elizabeth Moberly.

I came across this link on the Ex-Gay Watch weblog. It is the story of Jeffrey Ford, another former director of Outpost.

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As most people know by now, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas cannot prohibit what goes on in private between two adults of the same sex, as with adults of the opposite sex. Stephen Bennett, of Stephen Bennett Ministries, released his statement. The last paragraph is simply amazing (using Stephen's word), that he would make such an extreme statement. Will gay people die of AIDS? Yes. Will straight people die of AIDS? Yes. If the Texas law remained in effect would there be an end to gay people dying of AIDS? No. Would it mean that straight people would no longer die of AIDS? No. Here is Stephan's press release:

July 26, 2003

For More Information Contact:
SBM Media Relations (203) 926-6960


HUNTINGTON, CT - The Supreme Court has just struck down a Texas law that
banned same-sex sodomy. The Court, in a 6 to 3 opinion, found that the law
violated the right to privacy in the case of Lawrence v. Texas.

"As a former homosexual, I am deeply saddened by today's ruling. I've lost
many "gay" friends who are dead today because they contracted AIDS from
sodomy. To think the United States Supreme Court has actually sanctioned
sexual perversion - just amazes me," said Stephen Bennett.

Bennett is the 39 year old Executive Director of Stephen Bennett Ministries
in Huntington, CT - a pro-family organization advocating for the traditional
family, the protection of children and proclaiming the truth about

Bennett continues, "It just amazes me how homosexuals want the government to
legally stay "out of their beds" in their homes -- but DEMAND the government
be there when they are in their hospital beds dying from AIDS."

Stephen Bennett is a vocal opponent of the promotion and acceptance of
homosexuality in America. He actively lived the homosexual lifestyle for 11
years until he was 28 years old. Today, Bennett is happily married to his
wife of 10 years and the father of their two little children.

Bennett's message: No one is born "gay," in most cases it has everything to
do with childhood and just like a drug addict or alcoholic, homosexuals CAN
completely change.

"People have got to open their eyes to the truth that homosexuality is NOT
normal, nor natural. Sodomy is an unhealthy, dangerous and deadly practice.
The Supreme Court has done a great injustice by now encouraging young "gay"
men to play Russian roulette with their lives." Bennett continues, "My heart
truly goes out to the many families in Texas of the young "gay" men they
will put in the ground because of today's tragic decision."

Rather than spend so much time, money, and ministry effort attempting to outlaw homosexuality, which will not mean people will no longer be homosexual, why not strive for the implementation of social structures that encouraged monogamy, etc., within the gay community as are in place within the majority, straight community. It does not mean he has to change his opinion regarding homosexuality or outreach to encourage homosexuals to change into heterosexuals. It would simply mean he recognizes that there will be people who do not agree with his view of morality, so for those who will not agree (which to Stephen means they are rejecting God) there are forces that encourage them to live sanely and in a healthy manner. This is what happens with straight people.

It seems that for non-Christians homosexuals (or for Christian homosexuals for that matter) who will not accept certain conservative Christian concepts of morality deserve what they get - alienation, loneliness, AIDS and death. In their minds, to not live according to their precepts means that homosexuals accept unto themselves, death - it is a natural result.

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I do love the mornings of what will be hot and humid days. It isn't so bad, the heat, not quite yet, anyway. These mornings with their languid pace, where time seems to almost stand still, are enjoyable when caught up in thought and with the knowledge of not having to be anywhere or do anything of significance. Walking the streets after coffee, after reading, after seeing the people of morning move into what comes next. A slow pace, almost melancholy, even in the City.

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Monday, June 23, 2003

During Chris' ordination, which is more than appropriate, and for Trinity Sunday - twice in one weekend - I heard the hymn, St. Patrick's Breastplate. It is simply an incredible hymn, supposedly written by St. Patrick (372-466 AD), who took the gospel to Ireland. It is a bit long, but so full of meaning. Here it is:

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,
by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on cross for my salvation
his bursting from the spiced tome;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet "Well done" in judgment hour;
The service of the seraphim;
Confessor's faith, apostles' word,
the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls;
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun's life giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth,
the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch,
his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
The wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide,
his shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Chrsit to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

I plowed through the last bit of my final paper today. It was like pulling teeth - horrible! It ended up being 13 pages, so it is long enough. I enjoyed doing the research, but to bring it all together to be something inspired or written with passion, well that it wasn't. The pericope was Romans 12:1-8. I do have a different perspective on that portion of scripture at this point.

Sunday, I begin my field experience at Church of the Ascension, 5th Ave. Tomorrow evening, I will go to Corpus Christi services at St. Paul's, Carroll Street in Brooklyn. I simply have a sense that I will be there this fall. Ascension will be very good preparation for me, and working with Barrie to learn the in's and out's of the liturgy will be a privilege.

To be a priest, I just don't know. After watching Chris's ordination last Saturday and seeing or perceiving the change in him, whether ontological or perceptional, I feel the gravity of it all. Transitional deacons in Ohio are not ordained with dalmatics. I suspect for priestly ordinations the perspective priest can arrange things however he or she wants them, but the ordination of deacons is purely a bishop thing. I truly am drawn to high-church liturgies. I don't know how that will go over in Ohio. St. Paul's is still Rite 1, Anglo-Catholic. St. Thomas is still 1928 BCP. I'm being groomed in a small and somewhat rarified segment of the Church, but I think a segment that if in the right mind is rich and ancient and mysterious, full of meaning. Using all the senses through the thread of the unbroken Eucharist is the best way, I think, to reflect the glory and majesty of God, the otherness of God. In communal, public worship, I think that form is wonderful, as long as the intimate and relational is present in some relevant, meaningful, and faithful fashion.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2003

"The only reason reformers can pit the text of Scripture against Tradition is that the Tradition has preserved it." by Jaroslav Pelikan in the forward to Krister Stendahl's book Final Account: Paul's Letter to the Romans

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Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Here is the latest from Focus on the Family. I can agree with the idea that throwing a party does not have to be subsidized by taxpayers. I just wonder whether taxpayers foot-the-bill for other groups? If so, this is unjust in that it targets a single group of employees at the Justice Dept. to be treated differently than other groups. What does scripture say in Micah, "...what does the Lord require of you, of man, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Anyway, I get a kick out of the glee expressed by prohibitionists who act unjustly, where have little mercy, and although they think they walk humbly, are quite full of self-righteous pride. Here is the article:

Justice Department Cancels 'Gay Pride' Event
By David Brody, Washington, D.C., correspondent

SUMMARY: There will be no "Gay Pride" celebration this
year at the Justice Department in Washington. Homosexual
activists are miffed.

The U.S. Department of Justice has decided that homosexual
employees this year may not hold their annual "Gay Pride"
event, thus nixing the 6-year-old observance.

"Gay Pride" at Justice goes back to the Clinton years,
when the liberal president proclaimed the first official
"Gay Pride" month. That set the tone, but didn't set the
event "in stone." This year, President Bush did not
formally recognize "Gay Pride" month, so Justice
Department officials said the party's off.

David Smith, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the leading homosexual activist group in the
country, said you can be sure HRC will cause an uproar.

"There's no recourse except to speak out about it," Smith
said. "It's surprising to us that the agency responsible
for protecting the civil rights of all Americans is
actually singling out one specific group for unequal

But conservatives say that is not the issue.

"The fundamental issue here is not saying that people
can't have a party or have an event, but they can't do it
on the taxpayer's dime," said Jesse Binnall, with Public
Advocate, a group that lobbies hard on pro-family issues.

While there may have been times in the past when the Bush
administration has given in to the gay lobby, Binnall said
hopefully that will begin to change.

"We are absolutely thrilled that it looks like this is a
sign of better things to come -- that they're finally
going to start taking a stand against the radical
homosexual lobby and those that want to attack the
American family, instead of standing up for it," Binnall

Repeated calls to the Justice Department were not

Homosexual groups say this is the first time that a
federal agency has blocked one of their "Gay Pride"

Last year, conservatives were the ones complaining. During
"Gay Pride" month in 2002, the second-ranking official at
the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Larry
Thompson, spoke at the "Gay Pride" event before about 150
people. Conservative groups complained loudly about the

thank Attorney General John Ashcroft for refusing to allow
taxpayer dollars to be used to celebrate "Gay Pride" month
at the U.S. Justice Department. Refusing to host a "Gay
Pride" takes courage, and Attorney General Ashcroft needs
to be encouraged that he did the right thing.

Attorney General John Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Send an e-mail via our Legislative Action Center:

We suggest the following resource about homosexuality:
"Straight Answers: Exposing the Myths and Facts About
Homosexuality," by Mike Haley:

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Sunday, June 08, 2003

Test. Switching to a new host...

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Saturday, June 07, 2003

I came across this from St. Stephen's Musings, a weblog from a guy named Karl who maintains a great weblog on Eastern Christianity (Orthodoxy). Being that Anglicanism is of the liturgical tradition, although a hybrid of Western Roman and Protestant expressions, the following can also be said - at least for me at this point.

Not Perfect but More Whole

"A liturgical Church has an advantage over one where worship is relatively spontaneous, in that people powered by religious emotion simply run out of steam. Where there is a Liturgy, you show up each week and merge into that stream, and allow the prayers to shape you. But where the test of successful worship is how much you felt moved, there's always performance anxiety; even the audience has to perform."

"I had been a Christian about ten years when I noticed to my dismay that my spiritual feelings were changing; the experience was growing quieter, less exciting. I feared that I was losing my faith...Then I came to sense that my faith had undergone a shift in location. It had moved deep inside and was glowing there like a little oil lamp; if I was swept away with emotionally noisy worship, it might tip and sputter. Silence and attentiveness were now key." Frederica Mathewes-Green, "At the Corner of East and Now" (pg 170-171)

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Friday, June 06, 2003

I really do need to learn to write! It is one thing to scribble stuff down for myself, but another thing entirely when others read what I write.

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It is personally revealing when I go back and look at past posts. While I certainly don't consider myself focused on gay issues much at all, other than for general reference, I have been making a whole heck of a lot of posts regarding the gay vs. ex-gay issue, and concerning the Christian Right's anti-gay prohibitionist agenda. So, what is going on inside of me that causes so much attention and effort being put into this. I've been thinking and reading about this stuff for years, but not much else, aside from the personal herculean effort in reconciling my Christian faith and my orientation. I have a stake in this, of course, but I think it revolves more around being Christian than being gay. I am always and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ; being gay is just a characteristic (being, not behavior!). Is there something to this that will be reflected in my future?

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If you want to see the face of the Christian Religious Right regarding homosexuality in American life, the politicized anti-gay prohibitionist movement, then read this from Robert Knight and Concern Women for America.

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Thursday, June 05, 2003

I came across this ad from P-FOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-gays) this morning.

It seems a fair and simple request that other people respect their decision to "chose to go from gay to straight."

A couple comments:

First, I don't know of anyone personally or anyone speaking publicly who is trying to deny anyone's right to attempt a change or to participate in an ex-gay organization. Are some actually attempting to force people not to attempt a change or to participate in an ex-gay organization? P-FOX doesn't want simply toleration for those wishing to change, they want respect. Ironic, isn't it?

For the Religious Right and the politicized ex-gay movement, however, the request is not about simply accommodating and respecting ex-gays and their claims, but really to demanding that ex-gay ideology be the only option - no exceptions! They advocate for laws and social policies that do not respect gay people's equal rights under the law. Heck, if they had their way, there would be no toleration for homosexuality anywhere in society. If they want respect and toleration, they must give respect and toleration, but they will not because to do so will violate their particular understanding of theology, and their theological dogma trumps anything! As a minority, the politicized ex-gay movement demands respect, but they will not accord the same to other minorities.

The second concern I have, which is not new by any means, is the claim by Chris that he simply "chose" to change from "gay to straight." We all know that simply does not happen. Even honest ex-gay ministries publicly state that does not happen. Chris, if he is emotionally and mentally healthy, can certainly choose to change from being sexually active to not being sexually active, which of course is the claim of change from homosexuality to heterosexuality made by ex-gay ideology.

They also advocate that anyone wanting to change should not self-identify as being homosexual - as one thinks, so shall he be. In my twenties, if I received a call from a polling organization asking me whether I was gay or not, I would have said, "No!" I would have said “no” not because I no longer had homosexual feelings or had developed heterosexual feelings, but because I believed that God originally created me heterosexual and as I claimed heterosexuality as my self-identity, then heterosexual I would be. It was the idea of "things hoped for but yet not come." There was no inner-conflict in admitting to my continued homosexual feelings and self-identifying as a heterosexual. I had faith in what I truly thought I was - straight - and the gay feelings were just residual effects of the original deception that I was homosexual. Of course, I could not sustain this way of thinking for very long, and neither can most ex-gay people. I wonder how long it will be before Chris has to admit, to God if no one else, that he cannot change the innate feelings going on within him. If he is constitutionally gay, he will have to admit that he cannot change his orientation, although he can certainly choose to be in a relationship or not or whether to engage in sex. He can choose to act like a heterosexual, but again we know that simply acting like one does not make us one.

I respect the intense struggle people go through trying to reconcile their orientation and their relationship with God. I would have much more respect for ex-gay organizations if their public face were as honest as their private face! Of course, that is the call of Christ to us all as we remove our masks and receive His freedom. They won't do it, however. There is too much pain and failure. The face of Chris with his implied promise is compelling, but there is so much more involved.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Here is a great article by Rederick Turner from Tech Central Station: The Liberal Trademark. I came across the article from a recent Andrew Sullivan post.

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Not that I support the Christian Religious Right in much of their political agenda, but there is also a Christian Religious Left that must be acknowledged. I do not support much of the Religious Left's political agenda, either. Both the R.L. and the R.R. infuse their political goals with their theological or theocratic beliefs. While I support both sides in their attempts to express their beliefs and concerns in the political arena, I also know that politics coopts religion and not the other way around. Power tends to corrupt... Here is a news item from the Episcopal News Service:

Church officials meeting in Geneva reject legitimacy of G-8 summit

(ENI) Church officials and protestors who met during the summit of the Group of Eight nations in Evian, France, which ended on June 3, rejected the legitimacy of the grouping of the most industrialized nations, also known as the G-8.

"We see the G-8 as an illegitimate group because they were not elected by anybody to rule the world," said Rogate Mshana, economy and justice program executive for the World Council of Churches (WCC), at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, about 25 miles from the summit.

"On whose behalf are they speaking?" Mshana said at a meeting on Monday hosted by the general secretaries of four world church bodies headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre--the WCC, the Lutheran World Federation, the Conference of European Churches and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

Here is the Religious Left. They claim the meeting is illegitimate because the leaders were not elected to rule the world. Well, except for possibly Russia, all the leaders of the eight nations were duly and legitimately elected! Why does the WCC support the United Nations, since none of the representatives at the UN (the ambassadors) were elected? They were appointed by leaders of individual nations, whether the leaders were freely elected or whether the leaders are despotic dictators, yet the WCC is a big supporter of the UN. It can be argued that the very reason that these eight national leaders meeting together to coordinate world policy IS legitimate is because they were elected in a democratic political system! It is not an illegitimacy of structure, it is a perception of illegitimacy because of political and economic positions the Religious Left disagrees with. Remember, the Religious Left has just as much of an agenda and theological leanings as do those of the Religious Right (that the R.L. has a more tolerant disposition towards diverse beliefs is a theological leaning, although hypocritical because they do not tolerate conservatives at all!). If the G-8 concluded with policies supported by the Religious Left, they would be all over them with praise and support!

Okay, the next question: "On whose behalf are they speaking?" A legitimate question, I do believe. The implication is that they only speak for corrupt international corporate interests that wish to rape world society and destroy the earth. They may simply be speaking for the interests of the people of the individual eight nations. The fact is, if the people of the individual nations do not support what their leaders are doing at G-8 meetings, they can vote their leaders out of office. If the WCC can persuade the voting interests of the individual nations to install leaders who will champion their social and political policies, more power to them. They have not succeeded in doing so at this point.

I do not blame or hold in condescension those who champion and advocate for their political, theological, or economic positions. I support the WCC's right to protest and to attempt to cause change even if I do not believe in some of their beliefs or positions. I do resent, however, that those who hold liberal positions feel justified in deriding those with conservative positions - it is hypocritical for those who espouse liberal beliefs of inclusion and toleration to do so. They act just like the Religious Right, except that the R.R. never claims to be accommodating to everyone.

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Sunday, June 01, 2003

Another cool and rainy day in New York City. Today, however, I'm loving the rain. Sometimes, slow, rainy days are wonderful.

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I found this very interesting. I was reading an article by Fritz Ritsch on the Washington Post website this morning concerning the Iraqi war and a tendency among many Americans to see this nation as some sort of special entity with a Manifest Destiny to accomplish God's work in the world. He was commenting on the president's use of hymnic language in his speeches as demonstrating the view that the United States and the world would be much better submitting God's rule through their particular perspective of what that rule would look like and through whom it would be exercised.

Understanding the Zion/Davidic Covenant of the ancient Hebrews, specifically in the southern kingdom of Judah, where the understanding of Messiah dealt with a specially anointed (by God) ruler that would exercise both political and religious power, brought together, in order to restore Israel to its divinely promised destiny as a nation-state and as a people. Ritsch's comment took this idea and applied it to many within the religious right.

Here is the quote from Ritsch:

But some on the religious right have built a theology around this hope. Many of them believe that America will be at its best if its government submits to their understanding of God's work on Earth. What they have longed for is a Davidic ruler -- a political leader like the Bible's David, who will unite their secular vision of the nation with their spiritual aspirations. All indications are that they believe they have found their David in Bush -- and that the president believes it, too.

Interesting, huh?

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Friday, May 30, 2003

I'm going to pick up my last make-up final exam. I have been studying all week, but the volume of material is just so much. I will do badly. The whole affair may simply be an exercise in futility. Frankly, at this point I just don't care. I'm tired, I'm spent, and I'm at the end of my motivational ability. This illness, trying to cram 4 1/2 weeks of work in four classes into two 1/2 weeks of make-up exams has left me apathetic. In the grand scheme of things, I don't care whether I fail this exam or not. I've enjoyed studying for it and I've learned a lot, just not the kind of stuff needed to effectively reproduce on an exam.

I still have three papers to write. Writing is different, however, and I won't mind do it. Exam taking, especially when there are 20 pages of stuff to memorize (and that is the reduction and compilation of the semesters worth of material). Writing, okay, exam taking - I'm over it.

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I'm still on this gay vs. ex-gay thing. These are all just thoughts. I'm not making declarative statements!

So, this morning I was thinking about how many gay prohibitionists (not prohibitionists who might be homosexual in orientation, but those who campaign against homosexuality - as in, "we want to prohibit any positive expression of homosexuality for purposes of ending homosexuality and exposing it for what it truly is: evil and destructive to all that is good and godly. And, to send a message of hope to the poor homosexuals that they can be free to change into heterosexuals through our exclusive theological perspective of God's will, which of course IS God's will.) still demand that the public (and government) accept the notion that homosexuality is a chosen element in a person's life, whether that element might be defined by behavior or sexual/emotional attraction. Along side of this, as I was thinking, is the comparison of having a homosexual orientation with being of a racial group other than Caucasian in the fight for civil-rights and equal protection under the law.

Many African-Americans are up in arms because gay-rights leaders compare the fight for homosexual equal protection with the fight for minority (black) civil-rights in the 1960's. For these African-Americans, having dark skin is genetic and something that cannot be changed (except for M.J.), but being homosexual is not genetic (of course, not proven) and therefore a choice, so then to compare the two as being the same in the fight for civil-rights/equal protection is an outrage. By the way, why not just call the campaign for gay equality just that, campaigning for "equal protection under the law," rather than "civil-rights," which is a word with such cultural connotations to the just fight for black civil-rights in the '60's that using the term causes much unneeded tension and animosity. It may be semantics, but powerful emotions are in play.

The equivalent can be expressed in behavior, however. Just like there are many black-stereotypes that still exist in this country (blacks like fried-chicken and watermelons, they are fat and lazy, the women let the men abuse them, they don't know how to speak English, they are all druggies or at least drug dealers, etc.), there are also gay-stereotypes that abound (gays are sex-crazed and have hundreds of sexual encounters, they are irresponsible and selfish, they are much more wealthy than the average person, they are drug-addicted and alcoholics, they are pedophiles and never have lasting relationships, they want to destroy the American way of life, etc.). Of course, there is nothing wrong with liking fried-chicken and making a lot of money, but all the above ARE choices, based on behavior. If an African-American stopped engaging in all the stereotypic "black" behaviors and acted just like a stereotypic Caucasian or Asian or Hispanic person, he or she would not stop being "black." His or her behavior would just be mimicking white or Asian or Hispanic behaviors. Likewise, if a homosexual stopped engaging in all of the stereotypic "gay" behaviors and acted just like a heterosexual, he or she would not stop being "homosexual." His or her behaviors would just be mimicking heterosexual behaviors. Behaviors do not determine the innate make up of a person. Behaviors are a choice. It is true that repeated behaviors can become habits that seem at times impossible to break, but a person's innate make up is not a choice. In terms of equal protection under the law, whether one is gay or one is black, that person should be treated equally.

As has been written many time before, gay prohibitionists have to cling to the choice angel, else their anti-gay agenda won't fly - the public is too caught up on fairness for those who cannot help their internal make up by choice. In this case, if homosexuality as sexual/emotional attraction is truly not the choice of the individual, then it is comparable with other non-chosen elements of personal life. If homosexuality is to be defined strictly by behavior, thus chosen, then it is much easier to deny homosexuals equal treatment in society because, then, all homosexuals have to do is stop the behavior and all will be well again.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

In Andrew Sullivan's website, in the "Letters" section, there is the following letter from the respondent:

I think Mr. Ponnuru is "misunderstanding" social conservatives badly. I have lived in Montgomery, AL, most of my life; it isn't called "The Buckle of the Bible Belt" for nothing. I suspect I know more social conservatives than Mr.Ponnuru, and they will happily abandon Mr. Bush if he doesn't show he is on their side. You see, most of them are convinced we are living in the "end times," the prelude to Armageddon. This has led them to the conclusion that they are in a no-lose situation: if they can elect a candidate with their beliefs, then the world will become less bad, but if they don't, and things become worse and more sinful, then this will bring about the Second Coming faster.

Example: In the governor's race of 1998, their candidate, Fob James, lost to Don Siegelman. As I was watching the coverage, it showed the head of the Alabama Christian Coalition and his wife (the names escape me), and her comment was "Well, if Don Siegelman wins with his immoral agenda things will just get bad enough so Jesus will come back." They actually believe this! Of course it's profoundly unscriptural; Jesus Himself said even He didn't know when He would return; only God did. Cal Thomas was also articulating this theme a few years ago, telling Christians to stay out of corrupting politics and let the chips fall where they may."

If those of the Christian Religious Right are looking expectantly for the second coming of Christ as their vindication, they should take the prophetic admonishment of Amos to heart. I'm studying for my OT final and am reading Amos. Amos 5:18-20 deals with the expectation of the inhabitants of Israel, the northern kingdom, the Israelites, as piously expecting to be vindicated against their enemies at the "day of the Lord," but in reality it will be a very dark day for them because of their own injustice and sin - their own self-righteousness. The day of the Lord will not be their vindication, but their humiliation and destruction, unless they turn back to the Lord. How familiar when applied to the attitudes coming from the politically motivated members of the Religious Right! They, too, should be expectant not of vindication when the Lord returns, but of chastisement and possibly being "left behind" at the Rapture (according to their eschatology). Why? Well, basically, because of their self-righteous judgementalism (read Romans chapter 1:18 through chapter 2). Those of us who think we are "the bomb" before God, will quickly discover we are not when God's views are made apparent in a undeniable way! Take heed of Amos' prophetic announcement, which is as relevant today as it was in 750 B.C.

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Friday, May 23, 2003

I have been reading the posts from the blog Ex-Gay Watch and following the links. One proposition still strikes me as odd surrounding the whole gay/ex-gay/gay-rights argument - a common thought among many, I'm sure, but nonetheless odd. Why do the anti-gay prohibitionists continue to relate homosexuality to nothing but behavior? At this point in the debate it just doesn't wash, and the anti-gay folks are simply hurting their own position in the long run by using it. The continued use of the argument may play well to those who are ignorant (in a kind way – simply unknowing) of the whole dynamic of homosexuality, but that ignorance is falling by the wayside. Even sincere ex-gay ministries will not suggest that same-sex attraction (emotionally and physically) is a choice. Besides, it is counter to the Christian ethic to continue to use an argument that one knows to be wrong and manipulative, despite the ends trying to be achieved.

Whether the viewpoint comes from an African-American Christian man who finds it completely offensive that gay-rights people couch their advocacy along the lines of civil-rights, or from a fundamentalist white mom who believes cereal commercials are advocating the gay-agenda and wonders whether to allow her children to watch TV (true!), to the guy who just doesn't care, the determined definition of a homosexual by what is done behaviorally is ludicrous. By definition, if sexual orientation is defined exclusively by behavior, and since they suggest that a celibate homosexual is no longer a homosexual (no behavior), then is it also true that a celibate heterosexual is no longer heterosexual? I know, I know.

It is politically expedient and very neat ideologically and theologically to demand that those who claim to be gay are homosexual only because of what they do. It is a decision freely entered into by the homosexual. That way, the argument of deviancy is much easier to make. Gays should not be granted civil-rights protections, they should not be allowed to marry, and they should not be allowed to be visible because their deviancy (freely chosen behavior) is a cancer on society.

It is obvious, don't you think, to anyone wanting to know truth that a homosexual is one not because of a choice to simply engage in a behavior, but because of the same internal dynamic experienced by those who are attracted to the opposite sex. Well, okay, it isn't so obvious to many, and it depends on whether there is a desire to know truth. Behavior just does not cut the mustard. The prohibitionists are defeated if they continue down this road. But, they have God on their side, right?

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Interesting article by David Horowitz concerning the political Religious Right. Click here for the article. Not all conservatives are like those who yell the loudest and who seem to be the most insecure in their agendas and beliefs.

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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Something is going on somewhere. The police cars, marked and unmarked - two at a time - keep coming up 10th going uptown. I suspect they may be traveling up 9th, 8th, 11th, etc., but have know way of knowing other than I hear sirens with no visible cars. Something on the west side, I gather.

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There is a fifth - two unmarked cars. Here comes a sixth!

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There are lots of police cars going by all of a sudden. Four have gone by, and an emergency rescue squad has just passed. I wonder what is going on? Traveling north on Tenth Ave.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Okay, so ten minutes ago, I called my CPE supervisor and told him, "I will definitely be there on Tuesday," meaning I will be doing CPE this summer. Five minutes ago, I received a call from my doctor saying that I need to follow up with a kidney specialist. Why did I not wait fifteen more minutes to call my CPE supervisor? If I am going to have to continue seeing doctors, then it really doesn't make sense to try to do CPE. A full-time hospital chaplain internship, including on-call duties, does not make sense if I am having to make appointments every other week.

Besides, I had this definite pang of disappointment after hanging up with my supervisor. The opportunities for the summer where out there for the taking, and I decided to cast them aside. Well, this just does make sense - if the major medical stuff would be over, then maybe, but even though I do not feel sick any longer, the kidney stuff, and the MAC stuff, and any other thing they may yet discover, in conjunction with doctor visits and procedures suggests for hassles then it is worth. So, I call and cancel my CPE experience - maybe. I can't just leave during the day during CPE, like I could simply taking classes.

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There are three production companies doing shoots on the Close today. On our way for coffee this morning, we unexpectedly ran into a Brooks Brothers photo shoot right outside the Refectory. It is always fun to see photo and video production going on.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2003

It is getting very hard to motivate myself to study, especially when everyone else is done.

This CPE decision is becoming very difficult. Do I, or do I not? Permission, a gift given as Roy said, to take the summer easy should not be thrown away easily. Yet, there is that nagging feeling that the "still small voice" is saying stay in CPE. Of whom is the voice? I would love to take the summer off - perhaps the last time this opportunity will come my way. I hate agonizing over a decision.

I know either way I will be fine. What may be in store either way is what confounds me, and there is no way of knowing what is in store.

Chris e-mailed me and said I should NOT take a trip to the CDC in Atlanta unless it is absolutely necessary. He also said it is never a good thing to be an "interesting case." I believe him.

I just need to get through these final few exams and I will be fine. The papers I have yet to write will be a joy, in comparison to the exams - tough to finish, but no memorization and I am in control of the product. Bed!

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Ashton says, "Hi" to the world - especially to John C.!

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Saturday, May 17, 2003

Jason and Nick are now gone. The apartment will feel quite empty with only Roy and I. Of course, if Roy ends up getting the room he requested for next term this summer, it will only be me in this rather large and rambling apartment.

Leighton, Chris, and JR are gone, now. It will be so strange not having them around any longer. They were a fun and colorful bunch. This place will not be the same.

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Here is the latest news concerning ex-gay issues coming out of Focus on the Family's e-mail updates. I would not for a moment advocate that P-Fox should not be allowed to voice their concerns before their elected representatives, but the perspective they present - ex-gay theology with an attempt at clinical/scientific reasonings - is so faulty that while sincerely believed is deceptive and wholly unsubstantiated. It reminds me of how the Mormons advocate to those they are evangelizing that they are orthodox Christian, but with another testament of Jesus Christ. Unbeknownst to the evangelizee, their theology is any thing but orthodox Christian, even though they use the same words. Someone, according to ex-gay ideology, is "healed and changed" when they stop engaging in certain behaviors. "I don't do this and do do this, therefore God has healed me of my homosexuality." Plus, along with behavior change, there is a mindset change. "Even though I still have homosexual desires, I do not call myself homosexual because God created me heterosexual, as He has with every human. I just have to have right belief."

I know that some homosexuals engage in the same kind of mind-bending justifications of what I consider just as harmful arguments and behaviors, they are not lobbying Congress to remove civil rights from a whole group of people. I know according to current and predominate Fundamentalist beliefs that in trying to stop "gay-rights" they are in fact doing God's work and saving our nation. I disagree. If civil rights are denied to one group by those in power, civil rights can be denied any group when not in power. Anyway, P-Fox is lobbying Congress that their perspective needs to be heard and implemented, for the sake of our country, families, and God's way of life. I believe their theological and scientific arguments are severely flawed! I believe that the gay community must take the religious-rights' anti-gay and prohibitionist political work seriously, because if they don't, they will wake up one morning being forced back into the closet with no recourse. Aside from the political, all one has to do is talk to the thousands of people who have left ex-gay ministries to know that something is not right, and it isn't the individual and it isn't God. To the people who are harmed, not because God does a work in their lives, but because of what ex-gay ideology erroneously promises, we have to take the anti-gay prohibitionists seriously!

Here is the news article from Focus on the Family:

"Ex-Gays Lobby on Capitol Hill
By David Brody, Washington, D.C., correspondent

SUMMARY: Group brings message -- "You can change" -- to lawmakers.

People who have left homosexuality went to Washington, D.C., recently to make Congress aware of the harassment they face.

Former homosexuals went to Capitol Hill on Thursday to make their voices heard. The group, which is called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (P-FOX), said it is about time its message is heard.

"We're here," said Regina Griggs, who heads P-FOX. "We've changed. People can change. Please protect our right to choose."

Griggs said the group believes if there are hate crimes laws to protect homosexuals, there should also be legislation concerning the harassment of ex-gays.

"We are discriminated against," Griggs said. "What part of these laws protects us?"

But the larger point the group is making, is that homosexuality is a choice -- and lawmakers need to hear that message, too.

"People do need to know the truth," Griggs said. "They do not take the time to look for the truth, nor do they ever ask our opinion. If you're going to judge homosexual issues, shouldn't you talk to former homosexuals?"

It's a subject that doesn't receive much attention on Capitol Hill, according to Randy Thomas, a spokesman for Exodus International -- a Christian group dedicated to helping former homosexuals.

"This is a very real, complex issue and there's more to it than what the gay elite is sharing," Thomas said. "The more that former homosexuals speak up, not only do we bring honor to the Lord, we bring the whole discussion to a new level," Thomas said.

The trip to Washington, D.C., is a big first step. Organizers say it's the first time, as a group, that ex-gays have lobbied Congress.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: The P-FOX Web site contains more

For more information about people who have come out of homosexuality, we recommend: "Portraits of Freedom," by Bob Davies with Lela Gilbert:

(NOTE: Referral to Web sites not produced by Focus on the Family is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family of the sites' content..)"

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Friday, May 16, 2003

Life just continues on in the City.

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Thursday, May 15, 2003

GTS graduation ceremonies were today. Very nice! The Dean's Latin had a little to be desired, but everything seemed to run smoothly and the ceremonies were quite nice. The same ceremonial from the mid-1800's.

Today, Chris, Leighton, Ron, Chris & Michael were all up in Hoffman 5. This was the last I will spend time with them. It will be so odd having this group of seniors no longer around. I've grown very fond of the Seabury Heights' guys. We had a great time talking up everything about he seminary, perhaps a bit too much gossiping, and just talking about life. I'm am up way too late. By the grace of God I will be able to sleep in a bit so that I won't be overly tired for studying. I haven't a choice.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I'm very tired. I'm not sure why. Ashton and I roamed around the east village for quite a while last night. Maybe the extended walking tired me out. It is funny how before my illness I could walked 80-90 blocks (from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine back down to the seminary) and be fine, but now, after my illness, walking very far truly tires me out. I'm going to die when I start running again. Anyway, maybe that is why I am so tired today. I hope so.

Baccalaureate is in a few hours - Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I'm going to miss the seniors a lot - Chris, Leighton, J.R., especially. Dion will be heading back to Ohio. I should have been with him in this year's senior class - we went through the process together. I think it odd to imagine being finished with school and headed for a ministry job if I had completed this whole process as I should have. Now, I find myself in a position where I may have to do things differently once again. I have always traveled my own road, not intentionally, though. It just seems like I end up doing things differently than everyone else. It may be that way again if I don't start CPE in a couple weeks. I will experiencing everything differently, once again. As Roy says, I have no idea what the future will hold!

Back to the seniors - though I have not been able to spend as much time with them as I would have liked, being sick for 6 weeks does that, (I never did make it up to David and Richard's for the Sunday night Six Feet Under get-together) the seminary will not seem the same. That undercurrent of Anglo-Catholicism that runs throughout the seminary ("current and future deans take note"), will now be left up to others, possibly myself included. Claire will be at St. Mary's the Virgin. I don't remember who will be at St. Ignatius. John will be at St. Thomas. I don't know who will be at St. John's in the Village. Maybe I will end up at St. Paul's, Carroll St. in Brooklyn. Different than Ascension. I'm not at all discouraged by not being accepted for field placement at Ascension. It will be a great place for Tim, and for some reason I am drawn to St. Paul's. Lord, your will be done - for CPE and for field placement!

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I do not want to study today! I have to. Too many exams coming up. Next week, my make-up mid-term for NT and final for OT. Today is Baccalaureate and Desmond Tutu is speaking. Roy gave me one of his tickets to the chapel, so I can see him speak in person rather than on a video screen in the overflow room. I saw his speak at Oberlin for commencement one year Amy Burrows was still working there. I think it was before Apartheid fell. I just don't want to study!

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Monday, May 12, 2003

As Roy said, there is wisdom in numbers. Alon (the GTS Chaplain) has asked me several times whether I thought CPE this summer (which begins in two weeks) was a good idea. She is supportive of whatever I decide as long as it is a thoughtful decision. Today, however, Bill Doubleday talk with me and he suggested I consider postponing it until next year. One comment he made I had not thought of - if I do CPE this summer and I am spent at the end, how is that going to affect the beginning of class and the whole semester. I could be a huge disadvantage at the beginning of the semester. Then, during lunch, Nancy (who recently ended her term on the Commission for Ministry and is here at GTS for a Trustees' meeting) asked me how I was doing and my plans for summer. The suggested I postpone CPE for a year. She said that I need to learn self-care now. She also said there was talk at the diocese office that postponement might be a good idea. So, I e-mailed Mary this afternoon and asked here what she thought. Considering MAC being in my blood stream, which my doctor said is a sign of a immune system disfunction, being in a hospital may not be a good idea until they really figure out what is wrong with me. Anyway, Mary said that she talked with Bishop Grew and they thought it might be a good idea to postpone CPE.

I am really torn. There are a lot of things I could do this summer - take classes at Union or Fordham, work for Anne and earn a little money, work some in a parish for experience. Yet, all my classmates will be going through CPE and I will not have that common experience with them! Right now, that means a lot to me! Being out of commission for six weeks already pulled me out of their experience. I could sense it during final exam week. While I'm glad I avoided the stress by having much of my work extended into the coming month, there is part of me that feels left out of their common experience.

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Saturday, May 10, 2003

I took the Patristics (Church History) final this morning. I got up early to study for a final few hours. I thought I was pretty set, with the understanding that another full day would have made all the difference in the world. It would have been a moot point, however. The way the final was structured, I didn't really study the right things anyway. Such is life, I suspect. At this point, I really don't care. I want to get everything done and over with, and while I do want to do a good job, I am not going to kill myself. There are far more important things in the world than knowing the Council of Ephesis in 431 was concerned with the heresy of Euthycianism. Not that Euthycianism isn't a good thing to know, but in the grand scheme of things, right now it is not high of the list of important things. Anyway, my perspective has changed a lot since my illness.

I saw myself heading towards burn out, great dependence on my own effort, an unwillingness to give things over to God, and inability to have right priorities - which should always be people-centered first and for most. I'm glad for the illness, if for only that reason. The stress and anxiety that leads to nothing more than illness (emotionally and then physically) is simply not worth it.

I am very glad for my classmates, who are truly finished. I still have two mid-terms, a final, two exegesis, and a short preceptorial paper to finish. I just hope I can finish most of it before CPE.

I had another follow-up appointment with my doctor. They took nine viles of blood this time - a record for me. So, the MAC in my blood shouldn't be there and now is the process of finding out why it is.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2003

So, all day yesterday I researched and answered the first essay of my New Testament take-home final with the requisite five pages filled up. I'm sitting in the classroom waiting for our in-class identification exam and listening to some of my fellow classmates talk about their answers. They certainly didn't sound like my answer at all! I got home, asked my roommate Nick whether I was using the right copy of the exam - you see, our professor gave us an example a few days earlier of what the actual exam would be like. I answered the wrong stupid question! I mean, it was interesting and I learned a lot, but now I have to go back and do all the work to answer the CORRECT question and then proceed to the second essay. At least I didn't answer everything incorrectly! What a doofus!

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Tuesday, May 06, 2003

I just got back from a group study session for the OT2 final. Even thought, as of Friday everyone will be completely finished and I will still be working through May to get caught up, I am so glad I am not were they are. I don't know how they are holding up with the compression of finals into basically 3 days. Especially with the NT2 final, which is incredibly comprehensive and very difficult. This place is not developmental at all!

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As I write my two essays for my New Testament take-home final, I watch out the window from time to time. I am amazed. Construction work is going on down below that blocks three of the six one-way lanes on 10th Ave. Both the construction workers, laying new pipe below the road, and the mass of drivers trying to all squeeze through the two completely free lanes, seem to use their limited space to the best of their abilities. All the construction that goes on has to happen in a relatively small space. Back-end loaders, huge trucks haling away slaps of concrete and asphalt, and a good number of workers maneuver and work in what seems to be an impossible space as other trucks and cars fly around them. I'm impresses that the regular vehicles drivers aren't yelling and screaming and honking. Sometimes the honking is insane.

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Sunday, May 04, 2003

It seems I feeling better every day, which should be the case, after all. Jason, Nick, and I just got back from seeing the new X-Men movie. Better than the first, I do think. I'm still tiring easily and a day full of stuff gets the best of me. The city is actually quite pretty right now. The trees are leafing, the flowers are in bloom, spectacularly, and it is warm.

All-in-all, I'm doing quite well. I am on a much more even keel than before my illness. Being out of circulation for six weeks has a tendency to change perspective and attitude. I am thankful for that. Thankful, too, that through hardship, good things emerge! As James wrote, "Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds; because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature, complete, and lacking nothing." To know what joy is, to know what peace is, to know what real life is, you need to experience at least a taste of the opposite. Those who want life to be always easy are missing out on so much, because when we let the times of our lives, when we let the test and trial runs its course to see what God does within us, then do we become more of what we are meant to be, then do we learn, then do we understand, then do we become mature, complete, and lacking nothing. Let the process finish itself, and trust that God is always present and waiting for the knock, for the wanting, and God is there.

Ashton competed nationally yesterday. I haven't heard how he did, which makes me think he didn't come in first. I think, if he had, he would have called. But I could be completely wrong and will find out tonight.

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Friday, May 02, 2003

7:15 am this morning I will be off for yet another test. This one is testing for stuff going on with my kidneys, which may or may not have anything to do with the fevers. I'm feeling much, much better at this point. I haven't had a fever spike in almost two weeks now. My energy level is still quite low, but slowly returning. I just have to get myself back in shape.

Classes are now over for my first year of seminary. It is very hard to believe that the first year is almost finished. I have a month to make up the work I missed, although I think I will try to take the final exam in Patristics and New Testament.

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Sunday, April 27, 2003

Big Cup was fine. A medium coffee over the course of the day was not! The caffeine was not a positive influence on my system. I am going to have to take this slower.

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Saturday, April 26, 2003

Well, I'm off to the Big Cup for the first time since my illness - more than six weeks. The weather could be more like yesterday. It is cold and rainy today, but the heck with that. So, coffee, bagels, St. Gregory the Great, and Father J. Robert Wright - I have a paper due on Monday.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2003

These past six weeks have been trying. What was thought to simply be a bad case of the flu has developed into a six week illness, a twelve day hospital stay, and an illness that has perplexed many different doctors. No one knows what I have, although I can give anyone a very long list of what I do not have! I'm still not over it, but I have returned to the last two weeks of classes. I missed four and a half weeks of classes out of a 12 week term - not too good.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

I renewed my subscription for a year at, the company that hosts my website. They are switching people over to new servers and systems that are supposed to be much better. I haven't been able to FTP for two weeks, which means I can't publish any of my weblogs without a very long process.

Besides, I'm very sick. It started on Saturday (Mar. 8th). Monday and Tuesday, I had fevers that peaked at 103.6 and 102.9, retrospectively. Today, I'm running a constant temp. of 100.+. I hate this. The doctor at the D.O.C. urgent care center said it was a severe case of Influenza, but not strep (sp?), which is good. Ashton took care of me on Monday. He took me to the DOC center. It was nice having him here, although he takes far too many risks with a sick man.

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I renewed my subscription for a year at, the company that hosts my website. They are switching people over to new servers and systems that are supposed to be much better. I haven't been able to FTP for two weeks, which means I can't publish any of my weblogs without a very long process.

Besides, I'm very sick. It started on Saturday (Mar. 8th). Monday and Tuesday, I had fevers that peaked at 103.6 and 102.9, retrospectively. Today, I'm running a constant temp. of 100.+. I hate this. The doctor at the D.O.C. urgent care center said it was a severe case of Influenza, but not strep (sp?), which is good. Ashton took care of me on Monday. He took me to the DOC center. It was nice having him here, although he takes far too many risks with a sick man.

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Thursday, February 20, 2003

"It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!"

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, "Address Before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" (September 30, 1859), pp. 481-482.

Thanks, Nick, for finding this.

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It's going to be sunny and 45 degrees today. Nice! Even balmy! But, water will be rushing everywhere. I'm curious to see where it all goes. We are all so tired right now. Not just a couple of us - everyone. Mid-terms haven't even hit and already we are spent. If I thought there was a method to their madness, it might be okay, but I doubt there is. I can only do so much, yet as every day passes I get further and further behind. I've kept track of every minute the past week and a half, and I'm not wasting time. Financial aid stuff is taking a lot of time that would have been devoted to study, but I have to pay for this education; I have to come up with $36,000.00 (granted, the seminary is gracious with their scholarships, as is my diocese and home parish, yet...). Financially, I am in far better condition then many of my fellow seminarians - I am grateful. Anyway, we are becoming nothing much more then zombies at this point.

Last weekend was the Perspective Student Conference, so hardly any homework completed last weekend. This weekend, students are coming up from Virginia Theological Seminary for the annual basketball rivalry. This should be fun, but we are hosting three people, which means we (I, mostly) will have to clean and prepare. I'm sick of cleaning and preparing.

We are just weary. Frankly, the most frustrating thing of all is that all the material is quite interesting and I would love to dive into any one class, the homework, and the projects, but there is so much that nothing can be done well, nothing can be processed well, and there is just going to be a lot of cramping for regurgitation. That's just a shame, and I blame poor planning and coordination. It seems we are being formed by a negative process rather than a position one. Maybe there is a grand scheme, but if it is unrealized, what's the point.

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Monday, February 17, 2003

The snow has been amazing today. I woke up this morning and looked out my window and thought, "another false alarm." Yes, there was snow, and it was still snowing, but nothing major. I thought. I was a bit disappointed. Then, a couple hours later as I left for chapel, I tried to open the front door of Hoffman and realized that we had a whole heck of a lot of snow. It has continued snowing all day. I suspect we have a good 18 inches by now. The maintenance crew has made a yeoman's effort trying to keep up with the snow. I've helped a bit.

I've been watching out my window onto 10th ave. as much as possible. Traffic has been almost non-existent. The only regular and major traffic has been a cadre of garbage trucks plowing the street. I just finished watching two garbage trucks, with chains on their wheels, get stuck attempting to go down 20th St. It's amazing, and a whole lot of fun! So, what am I doing in here typing out Patristic definitions? It's cold out there!

The snow is actually starting to pickup again. 20 to 24 inches are expected by tomorrow, all told. I wonder whether perspective students will be able to leave tomorrow? General has been conducting the winter Perspective Student Conference this weekend. This morning, a man from Kenya was commenting on the snow. Another guy from southern California has nothing but tennis-shoes. Poor guy! I wonder whether he will end up here next year?

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Sunday, February 16, 2003

The city is pretty bad tonight. The news channels are saying the city is supposed to have up to 12" of snow tonight. That's a lotta snow! The taxis are having a hard time of it. I just saw one practically going sideways.

Ashton and company boarded and set sail today. They are going to have such a great time! Cruising in the warm Gulf while we are stuck here in New York with 12 inches of snow!

Everyone is gone and everything is cleaned up. We had six perspective students over for dinner tonight for the kick-off of the Perspective Student weekend. A bunch of nice folks! Elise and Elizabeth joined us, too. I really enjoyed it, although it literally took all day (10:30 am until now, 10:55 pm). I at least finished a bit of homework this morning at Big Cup!

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Saturday, February 15, 2003

Ashton is off on his cruise. He and his friends and a bunch of volunteer fire fighters. He is so funny when he wakes up so early in the morning. The exact opposite of me - he feels totally out of it in the morning and I do in the evening. I hope he has a very good time.

How much have we given ourselves over to the systems of this world. My challenge is different then many of the people's here. Knee jerk reactions in all directions is a common human trait, but how to do get ourselves out of such responses. Liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, dove, hawk - all believe they are doing the best for our country and our citizens, yet there has to be a third way. What is the third way?

Hussein would not be letting weapons inspectors back into Iraq if it were not for the U.S. and Britain's forceful demands - something lost on the French. As they say, war may be the acknowledgement of diplomatic defeat, but with despots like Hussein there is often no other option but force. Force is what he respects, something again lost on the French. I agree that war is the acknowledgment of defeat for diplomacy, but not everyone is honorable, not everyone is interested in peace, not everyone can be trusted, not everyone is worthy of civil consideration, not everyone is interested in diplomacy. They prove themselves so by their actions, by their history, and by their own lack of civility. What is the third way? Not war, not appeasement, not acting in ignorance or false hope, false expectations.

How easy it is to depend on the formulations of our own minds and emotions. Reliance on our own limited understanding and refusal to allow God to be whomever God is, rather then always attempting to recreate God in our own image and demand God abide by our understanding of things. I have a scientific mind and cannot conceive of supernatural happenings that seem to suspend "natural laws." Then, of course, I have to explain away any miraculous event or report, whether current or ancient. I don't believe in a literal embodiment of evil, then I cannot acknowledge the possibility of demons or demonic possession - it is just always mental illness or epilepsy so some such physiological condition. I cannot conceive of a God who does or does not certain things, therefore I demand God be whatever I decide. We rely on our own understanding - to our detriment.

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Thursday, February 13, 2003

Tonight, Ashton and I are going to see Les Miserables. The show is closing in March. He kept saying that it is about the best musical there is and wants to see it one more time. I have yet to see it, so that's good for me! The tickets are a fortune, but as Jason said, if money is going to be spent, this is a good way to spend it. Valentine's Day is a good day for such a think. Ashton is leaving Saturday morning for a cruise with his friends, so this will be a good sending off! I can't wait.

Financial aid applications, grants, scholarships, FAFSA stuff, is taking up so much of my time right now. No homework for the weary, or at least the begging for money weary!

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Sunday, February 09, 2003

I miss Ashton. I spent the last six hours writing a three page paper. It doesn't help when I had to finish reading while I was writing. A lousy three page paper - six hours worth. Ugh.

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Sunday, February 02, 2003

I bought tickets to Les Miserables, which is closing in March. I bought them for Ashton for Valentine's Day - he said a few times now that he wanted to see the musical one last time before it closed. That works out well, because I want to see it for the first time before it closes. The tickets are not cheap - $100.00 bucks apiece. I'm thankful that the seminary will reimburse me for half the price of a cultural event, so it won't be all that bad. I have to quite spending so much money. I'm not that irresponsible, but a couple hundred dollars for one Broadway musical on a fixed budget when I could have probably spent far less and made Ashton just as happy (maybe). Anyway, it is finished.

I am truly enjoying my Patristics class, as well as my Philisophical Foundations for Theology. This semester, many of the classes support and inform one another - New Testament and Patristics and Philosophy all add to an overall understanding of what was going on during the development of the early Church. So much reading, but it is good reading. As much as I applied myself this past week, and especially this weekend, I have not even finished all the Patristic reading for tomorrow, let alone any of my Old Testament reading. All I can do is what I can do.

Even though there is so much more work this term, I am in such a better frame of mind. I have an idea of what is expected and most of the transitional issues are settled. I suppose I am much more at peace! I even went to all three chapel services on Thursday, which was a first. It was so odd being at Morning Prayer last Monday. It just felt good, comfortable, like I was supposed to be there. There was a familiarity with the experience that seemed right. I'm glad of that. I still have a way to go before I am able to say truly that the services feed my soul, like a regular quiet-time does for me, but I hope I am getting there. Everything in its own time, I suppose.

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Saturday, February 01, 2003

As many are writing this morning, the second shuttle has been destroyed. At 9:00 am or so, the shuttle Columbia exploded on its re-entry over Texas. I can't imagine how it is for the families, who were waiting in Florida for the shuttle to land, when they see it happen live - finding out through the media rather then a visit from an official.

I'm wondering of all the anti-American elements throughout the world, especially the Muslim fundamentalists, including the radical Palestinians, and whether they will be cheering - proof that Allah is judging American and Israel. Will there be cheering and celebration in the streets?

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Friday, January 31, 2003

Listening to the radio this morning, NPR, the local station news reported a big increase in the cases of Syphilis in the city. The largest increase was in gay men living in Manhattan. As the announcer said, this proves that a segment of the population is not practicing safer-sex, after a decade of decreasing incidents of infection. The segment just isn't gay men, but certainly a large segment of the gay population. Of course, if there is an increase of Syphilis due to unsafe-sex, that means the HIV infection is also increasing.

The "free-sex" hedonism has to stop. If this type of behavior truly does makes its way into the straight male population - if the social strictures that keep straight men in check fall - we truly are in trouble. I understand how in-the-moment we all do things we would otherwise not do, but when the sub-culture encourages this type of behavior and ridicules anyone or group that champions against such behavior, it is just stupid. It is insane, because what is being encouraged means sickness and death. It isn't that gay relationships are sick or insane or in themselves cause sickness, as many prohibitionist religious people proclaim, but the actions of and sexual-obsession of the overall gay subculture brings nothing but emotional pain, psychological disfunction, and too often physical sickness and now death. The things we do keep us from the very thing our heart yearns for - to be loved and to love deeply, to be known and to know another intimately. So many gay men are unable to bond with another, are unable to form close, emotionally stable, and intimate lifelong relationships, are enable to mature emotionally and psychologically because we stay in an irresponsible sexual and emotional adolescence. And, the sub-culture just perpetuates this.

It has to end, else I wonder whether the anti-gay people could be right - not with regard to God's view of same-sex relationships, but in the immorality of the behavior of so many gay men. Immorality because what we are doing is counter to what we yearn for, what is emotionally and sexually healthy, and what is truly the best for our own lives - all of which God says is sin. Immorality because what we continue to do brings destruction. Of course not all gay men are in that place, but too many of us are, and the general sub-culture perpetuates such notions.

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Thursday, January 30, 2003

Way too much reading! The problem is, everything is really interesting. I want to read it all, carefully, in order to absorb everything, but it is going to be impossible. I haven't finished my first week yet, and already I'm a book behind - not even counting all the reserve reading and handouts. Yet, it is great stuff! Plato's Timaeus is the most difficult to wade through right now, and I can't just skim it.

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Monday, January 27, 2003

A quote from Father Wright's handouts for our Patristics class: "To comprehend and assess the fundamental elements and basic positions of the Anglican tradition and its relationship to the wider church... And, as an Anglican, to be able to distinguish tradition, 'the living faith of the dead," from traditionalism, 'the dead faith of the living.'"

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I went for the interview at NYU Medical Center, and got the position. This summer, I will be at NYU MC for CPE!

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First day of the spring term. I have to miss one of my classes today. I scheduled my CPE interview with NYU Medical Center at 2:00, not realizing that Patristics begins at 1:20. It is going to be a cab ride to the interview today - too far to walk on a very cold day. During the summer, I suppose it would only be about a half hour walk - not too bad.

I'm nervous about this term. I truly have no blocks of time to study during the day, except Fridays. I don't know how this is going to work. I may end up getting up early again, because attempting to study in the evening just doesn't work. There is going to be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to all my classes, especially OT2 with Judy Neuman. I just like her.

I certainly hope the NYU CPE position is offered and over with. I have to start focusing on financial aid. I received an application form from the Society for the Increase of the Ministry - quite an extensive form. There is going to be a lot of work for this one grant, alone.

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Sunday, January 26, 2003

In just a few hours, the second term of my seminar career begins. I complained last term that it seemed I had no chunks of time during the day to work on homework, well, this term, I know I have no chunks of time. My classes are spread out throughout the day. Plus, I have five solidly academic classes this term - a lot more work, I think. The only saving grace is that I am settled in now and have a better understanding of what is required. I am hoping that I can find the groove that avoided me all last term.

I've accomplished a lot over break. Not nearly what I had hoped for, however. I got to spend a lot of time with Ashton, which was wonderful. I got a lot of papers organized to file, but haven't done any filing yet. I have piles that are still piles. I have not finished Celebration of Discipline, nor the four other books I am in the middle of. I worked a lot on my webpages, and they are looking much better. I still have a long way to do before I will be satisfied, if I ever am.

I have taxes, financial aid, and CPE interviews to worry about now, along side my course work.

I feel so bad for Ashton. Ashton's dog, a Dalmatian, is 14 years old. She is showing her age. It may not be long before Ashton has to put her to sleep. It will be horrible. Through two long-term but negative relationships, through everything, the one companion that always loved him was his dog. He was 21 when he got that dog as a puppy - practically his whole adult life. He just doesn't know what to do, and he hurts.

I hope I can discipline myself to live a balanced life this term. We shall see whether I can or not.

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Saturday, January 25, 2003

Here is another news article from Focus-on-the-Family. They just get it wrong, that's all. The problem is that in their wrongness, they are trying to excerpt their wrong theological understandings onto the socio-political process. In other words, their goal is to remove, politically any law that might be favorable to homosexual people - not special-rights laws, but anything that presents homosexuals in a positive light or secures an equal footing in the same way heterosexuals enjoy. Likewise, in school curricula, in public forums relating to homosexuality, in popular-culture, etc., they demand that homosexuality and gay people always be presented in the most negative terms. After all, it is a devastating sickness and blatant sin that if left unchecked will cause all gay people to end up in the eternal fires of Hell and cause God's intentional destruction of American. According to their generalized theories on and opinions of homosexuals, that is, which I don't think is Biblically or spiritually truthful or empirically verifiable at all.

Anyway, here is the article:

Lesbian Awarded Money from Sept. 11 Victims Fund
By David Brody, Washington, D.C., correspondent

SUMMARY: The lesbian partner of a Sept. 11 victim gets more
than a half-million dollars from the federal government.

The Sept.11 Compensation Fund that was set up to provide
money for victims of the terror attacks has awarded more than a
half-million dollars to a lesbian whose partner died in the tragedy.

Sheila Hein died on Sept. 11 and her partner of 18 years, Peggy
Neff, believed she was entitled to financial compensation. The
federal government apparently agrees because the fund, set up
by the U.S. Department of Justice, gave her $557,000.

Jennifer Middleton, of the Lambda Legal Defense Foundation, is
happy with the decision.

"It's important that the federal government has recognized that
Peggy and Sheila shared a household like any other married
couple ... and that recognition is vitally important to respect
Sheila and help Peggy move on with her life," Middleton said.

The decision is a clear victory for homosexual advocates, but it
has others worried.

Peter LaBarbera, associate director of the Culture and Family
Institute, feels sorry for the woman who lost a friend, but he said
a line has to be drawn.

"Nine-eleven or no nine-eleven, the government cannot reward
unhealthy homosexual relationships," LaBarbera said. "We've
got to get over our sensitivity on this and deal with it, because
what the other side is doing is using nine-eleven to promote
homosexual relationships."

Pro-homosexual groups will look at this decision as a clear-cut
case for legitimizing homosexual relationships. LaBarbera said
there's an unfortunate truth to that.

"In a sense they're right," LaBarbera said. "If the government
starts recognizing homosexual relationships and treats them as
the same as normal healthy relationships, then we're in trouble
because the government is giving these relationships

The man in charge of the Sept. 11 fund is Kenneth Feinberg -- a
former chief of staff to Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., who was
named by Attorney General John Ashcroft last year to oversee
the fund. He did not return our calls.

What this article reveals is their anger that gay relationships are treated in the same way that heterosexual relationships are treated. If a straight man, who was divorced and remarried three times, had died in the 9/11 tragedy, then his wife of two years should receive the money. A lesbian relationship, that was 18 years old, should not. Homosexuality has simply become their sin de-jour, their sin that raises the most cash, their sin that enables them to scapegoat a whole class of people and generalize the worst within the gay community to be normative for all gay people. It enables them to hate something and to prove by comparing themselves to gays that they are in fact holy and acceptable to God, because they are not like THOSE people!

I honestly don't have a problem with the honest ex-gay ministries who try to encourage people to live a life they see fit according to their interpretation of scripture. Fundamentalist expressions of Christianity do not allow for differences of opinion on Biblical interpretation, so they see only their opinion of scripture as being God's. I don't agree, and I think Biblical scholarship and the reality of most gay and "ex-gay" and"ex-ex-gay" people's experience will not support their theories.

The problem is that the Religious-Right, the politicized Christian sub-culture, is taking their theological opinions and demanding that our nation adopt their viewpoint. They demand that civil law abide by their theological notions. It isn't much different then Islamic law being implemented in many African and Middle-Eastern nations. They demand their notions of Christian law (really Mosaic and Levitical Law) be adopted by civil authorities. What they want is a theocratic form of government - defined by themselves and no other Christian opinion is tolerated. Homosexuality is the bogeyman that they feel is proof that they must succeed, else God will intentionally destroy American. Of course, not all believe this. Of course, there are some who believe that if we truly abide by scripture, then homosexuals need to be put to death, because that is what Leviticus demands. Yet, the prevailing "wisdom" among conservative Christians is that it is wrong, sinful, and destructive to pass laws that give homosexuals and homosexual relationships equal footing with heterosexuals and heterosexual relationships.

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Friday, January 24, 2003

Here is a news item from the latest "Focus-on-the-Family" e-mail news updates:

"Report: Gay Men Seeking HIV

One out of four newly HIV-infected men actively sought out the
disease, according to a new article in Rolling Stone magazine. John
Paulk, the manager of Focus on the Family's homosexuality and
gender department, said that is actually old news within the gay

"Young men, especially in cities like San Francisco, have considered
themselves 'pre-AIDS,' " Paulk said. "In other words, they're not HIV
positive, but they know that they will eventually get AIDS and often
seek it out."

He said the attitude shows the hopeless desperation of young gay
men. They feel that unless they have AIDS they're not a full part of
the homosexual community.

"What that says to us is that homosexuality is not just a normal
variant of sexuality," Paulk said. "That, inherently, within
homosexuality are negative consequences -- psychologically,
emotionally -- and you see the negative health risks."

Paulk said homosexuality leads people to think their life is worth so
little, that purposefully catching a deadly disease would actually
improve their outlook."

Yes, regrettably, it is old news. People have been tracking this phenomenon for a number of years now, especially in San Francisco. As might be expected, there are whole websites devoted to the giving and receiving of this "gift" from one gay man to another. I have heard it explained that some gay men feel "left out" because they are not HIV infected. Those who are infected supposedly get all the attention, so they want to feel part of "it." I agree that it is unbelievable and very sad. The fatalistic attitude is killing people, which may be obvious with fatalistic attitudes, but it is still astounding nonetheless.

This has a lot to say about the hedonistic focus of those who yell the loudest in the homosexual community. In the same way that advocates of wearing condoms in the early '80's where labeled "sexual Nazis" by many gay men who didn't want to believe the fact of HIV/AIDS and didn’t want to stop having unrestricted sex in any way, so are those who strongly advocate for sexual sanity today, for an end to the sexual obsession of gay men, for the idea of living for something other then hedonistic pleasure. All one has to do is look at most gay publications, parties, the pervasiveness of porn, etc., to understand that we as a subculture are obsessed with sex and hedonism. It needs to stop, because there is something so much better and life-giving, but when the very element of society that helps “calm the savage beast” within us, the Church, rejects gay people and perpetuates the notion that gays are hopeless and evil, why should the “Way of Christ” have any appeal any longer? People, who make up the Church, may have rejected and condemned homosexuals, by God has not.

It is an uphill battle to convince the homosexual community that despite want anti-gay, prohibitionist Christians say, God does love gay people and desires a full life for us, in the same way God desires a full life for heterosexual people. Their brand of Christianity is distorted, and even though no of knows fully what the complete Way of God comprises (I Corn. 13:9-12), we can fully understand that we are to love God with all of ourselves, and love our neighbor as ourselves. That is the element they forget to employ.

I agree that there is definitely something wrong, not just spiritually but psychologically/emotionally, with anyone who intentionally becomes infected with a deadly virus that despite medical advances will still kill most of them. It has to do with feelings of immortality that most young people posses; it has to do with a life devoid of anything other then what feels good - a nice hold over from the 60's and 70's; it comes from not understanding who we are and what we are capable of in God; it comes from a subculture that encourages sexual-obsession; it comes from a subculture that has been so devastated and reviled by the Church and "love-the-sinner" Christians that they have rejected the Church, Christians, and most horribly of all – God; it comes from a sense of hopelessness and fatalism. As the article said, "...they're not HIV positive, but they know that they will eventually get AIDS and often seek it out." Men, apart from God, do what men do - whether straight or gay - young men would have sex with as many people as they could if there were not social strictures to lessen the impact of the libido. Within the male gay subculture, because it is made up of only men and because of the rejection they experience from those who could advocate for sexual-sanity, the strictures are far less effective.

The problem with the Focus-on-the-Family report, however, is that they lump all homosexuals into this same category. This is something the prohibitionist Christians love to do - demonize a whole group of people. They have done it to so many, gay people being only the latest rendition of the ploy. The fact is, most gay people do not seek out the HIV virus. Most I know, even though they are not Christians and therefore do not abide my the same moral codes that we strive to live by, go to great lengths to avoid the virus. Most gay people I know live relatively conservative lives - they are faithfully partnered or looking to be, they are not sex-obsessed, they are not drug abusers, they are not pedophiles, they are people who live like most single or married straight folks, despite what the politicized, anti-gay, prohibitionist Christians what everyone to believe.

So, when Paulk says, "...homosexuality leads people to think their life is worth so little, that purposefully catching a deadly disease would actually improve their outlook," that's what Focus-on-the-Family and other anti-gay Christian organizations what society to believe so that their whole "ex-gay" theology, pseudo-psychology, and political demands will be accept by the common American - thus the outlawing of homosexuality and any positive portrayal of gay people. The reason that many gay people still believe that their lives are worth so little is because people like Paulk and their like-minded organizations demand that homosexuals be hopeless and immoral and that society and the Church do everything it can to perpetuate that attitude among gay people. Their view is that homosexuality is evil, thus "practicing" homosexuals are also, and they want everyone to believe that, despite the "love-the-sinner" rhetoric. They want homosexuals to believe they themselves are evil and incapable of living a good life, a moral life, and a fulfilled life. They want gay people to believe that God rejects them outright, and therefore they have no ability to live a life worthy of anything. They want gay people to believe it so that they will allow ex-gay ministries to bring "healing" to their lives in God - except that their base understanding of the whole gay issue begins with a misinterpretation of scripture. They want gay people to live miserable lives because it enables them to perpetuate their anti-gay theology and ideology. A non-Christian gay subculture gives them something to hate – it gives them a scapegoat for the world’s ills. If prohibitionist Christians and their organizations did portrayed the gay-subculture as it really is, a mirror of straight culture with some excesses in different areas of life, they would not have a money-raising machine, they would not have a reason to exist, they would not demonize to scapegoat.

There are nihilistic, fatalistic, emotionally screwed-up gay males who are out there trying to be infected with HIV because of a whole number of reasons, none of which is acceptable. We need God's saving grace to live life to the full, as it was meant to be lived. We need to advocate strongly for a rejection of hedonism within all walks of life - because it pulls us away from true life, from true freedom, and from true satisfaction. What we don't need is people trying to demonize whole groups, and then doing everything they can to perpetuate the very reasons so many in that group find themselves screwed-up. Yes, as Paulk and Focus-on-the-Family says, it is sad. The problem is the conclusions they draw.

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Thursday, January 23, 2003

Test. Going to have breakfast with Jeff in Times Square this morning. I'm trying to create a new blog - the color of the lights on the Empire State Building nightly. It changes - sometimes the changes make sense, sometimes it doesn't.

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Saturday, January 18, 2003

It's dang cold here in New York right about now. Ashton brought his dog tonight - a 14 year old Dalmatian. I was worried about the five flights of stairs, but she seemed to handle them all right.

I woke up at 3:20 am this morning. I called Ashton just to make sure he was okay, alive, and home - he didn't call earlier. I couldn't go back to sleep, so this has been a very long day. We're going to watch The Manchurian Candidate . It's just good seeing him.

CPE - I'm kind of worried. So many of the programs are full by now. All the hospitals I applied to have already selected their students. I'm on waiting lists, but I could likely find myself without a CPE position this summer. I have no idea what I'm going to do if that happens.

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Thursday, January 16, 2003

I bought most of my books for spring term yesterday. When all is said and done, I will spend about $475.00! I can't believe the expense of just the books!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2003

So, my dad is staying out on Long Island for business. He was in the city yesterday for a number of meetings and we planned on going to dinner. He swung by the seminary and picked me up - I was going to show him were to park. As we are going west on 19th St., here was this open spot close to 10th Ave. There were lots of other cars parked on that area of the street, so why not. There was a no parking between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm sign; we parked at 5:15 pm. He thought it didn't really matter whether he got a ticket or not because the car was a rental and he lives in Ohio. We walked to a nice Japanese restaurant on 8th, where he insisted on buying me sushi. You know, it was actually pretty good! Anyway, we walk back to get the car, and no car. "Am I sure we parked on 19th," I asked myself. No car whatsoever. It had either been stolen or towed. A guy was going into the apartment building on the part of the street where we parked, so I asked him whether they generally towed cars, and he said not generally.

Called the police. They said call the tow pound. Call the tow pound, and yup, they had the car. Actually, the whole process of getting his car back wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. It cost $185.00, but for him it was much better then having the car stolen - all of his business stuff was in the car! We - roommates, Ashton, etc. - came to the conclusion that because the rental car had Pennsylvania plates, the police figured that the driver wouldn't pay the parking ticket, so why not tow him and get the money one way or another. Ashton was saying that if he had NY tags, a ticket was probably all he would have gotten. Who knows?

We had some evening last night. I wanted him to give my mom a good report about where I was living, etc., but then to have his car stolen, rental or not, would have caused my mom to worry about me even more.

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Sunday, January 12, 2003

Sitting in Big Cup yesterday, drinking coffee, eating a bagel, and reading The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism, I overheard some guys talking. Here is a quote from one of them. I'm not sure what he was thinking of converting to. "I'm thinking of converting. I go to church every now and then. I would be fine with it if they just quite talking about Jesus all the time. Every song is about Jesus. All I can say is, Jesus Christ!"

Well, okay, and what IS Christianity?

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Saturday, January 11, 2003

Oh, did I mention we have/had mice? Not rates, mind you, but mice. When I came home from Ohio on Tuesday with Ashton, I was in the kitchen and saw a mouse run over the counter and stove and then escape behind the oven. Roy and Nick said they saw a mouse run between Jason's room and the kitchen. Ashton and I both saw the creature two more times that day. We set traps, and of course the mouse simply took the cheese. These New York City mice, man. Mice, not RATS! Anyway, none of us have seen one since. The exterminator came our on Thursday and set traps all over the place - he put peanut butter on the conventional traps. Nothing. I haven't as much heard rustling. Where in the heck did the mouse/mice go?

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I finally mailed my CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) application stuff for summer. I received an e-mail from the Registrar of the HealthCare Chaplaincies in NYC saying that I need to get it in very soon because most of the programs are already full. I pray and hope that I can secure a slot, if not, I'm not sure what would happen with this summer. I can do CPE next summer, but normally that is reserved for field placement experiences. Nick just got his in and Roy is still in process. As Alon said, since 9/11, NYC is the hot place to do CPE experiences, and there are fewer programs this year than in the past. This has just been another few days of anxiously trying to get work finished not as well as I would have liked and under an ominous deadline.

Only two weeks off rather then three before classes begin again. That's fine, really, although I am not going to get done nearly as much as I would have liked. Ashton wants to spend as much time together as possible before classes begin, at which point my time is just limited! He wants to spend a LOT of time together. It isn't a bad thing, it just means I get less accomplished.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Christmas came and went, all right. Then came... strep(sp?) throat... a bad case of it. I didn't realize one could be so sick with strep-throat. I've been out of commission for the past two days. On Sunday, my temperature was 103 and it wouldn't go down and I was really out of it, so my parents took me to the "Express" emergency room at one of the local hospitals (it is for non-life threatening emergencies, I think). I had no idea what was up - my throat was hardly sore They ruled out Meningitis, which I'm thankful for. My throat has never been all that soar, which surprises me with strep-throat. All this has postponed my return to Cleveland. My Mom got her way - that I would stay a while longer. I have to kid her about that!

I'm just glad I am feeling better.

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Thursday, December 26, 2002

Christmas has come and gone. I've been thinking about the conversation between Roy and I last week - where Roy ended the debate/conversation because he felt I was becoming too emotional and angry (or something like that). I have to admit, I do become excitable and animated when I talk about a number of things. I have to admit that I was probably too much so. I understand that people can often misunderstand my reactions and emotional disposition, and I have to work on that. I just get excited. I suspect I have to be less so, or at least less so for those who don't know me well, or who are going to misunderstand. Obviously, our conversation did nothing to help further understanding or our friendship.

Yet, as I think about this and the coming conversation with Roy, which I need to have with him concerning all this, I know that his reactions were not quite virtuous either. His comment about me being so extremely conservative, which I am not, is off base. I countered him on that statement, but he said, "to me, from my perspective, you are." He needs to re-evaluate what an "extreme conservative" is, else he is not going to recognize them when he truly confronts an extreme conservative. Unless, of course, he comes from the position that there is no such thing as a legitimate conservative position on issues, only the liberal solution! Even worse, equating liberal political and social ideas with the Gospel, which is exactly what many religious conservatives do. What made me so extreme? I don't advocate for socialized medicine. I don't believe that our government is the solution to most of our problems. I think that despite the virtuous intent of the Social Security System and the Great Society programs, they have not helped, over the long run, the poorest of our society, but only made them depended on the government and the entrenched bureaucracies involved. I don't believe government involvement in much of anything is ever the best solution, because government breeds bureaucracies who are more concerned, after a while, about their own survival and power base than their initial purpose. There are obvious exceptions and many people in government are good people, yet I don't look first to government to solve all our social problems. It cannot!

In the midst of trying to explain my position, he would also interject extreme conclusions he thought would be the outcome of my argument, like, "so, you would just let them all die," when we were talking about infant mortality in this country and my contention that socialized medicine was not be the best solution. He did that a number of times, at which point I had to look at him and simply say, "Roy, be realistic!" My reaction to tactics like that was to talk faster trying to get my explanation out there before he attempted another extreme comment. That is how I reacted - to become more animated, more excited, more forceful, and finally just more frustrated. I should have simply kept calling him on that type of response. I should have simply said, "if you want to know how I think or what I think, then let me explain without your assumed final outcomes or extreme statements!"

So, I'm going to talk to him about that. I also have to admit that my response and reaction was not as it should have been. I need to work on that!

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Saturday, December 21, 2002

Roy and I had lunch a while ago. Vietnamese Noodle soup for me, not sure what Roy had. We got into a discussion about health care and I became quite animated, as I do with most things. I am not angry, truly, even though I know it comes across that way to many people. Roy ended the conversation because he sensed himself become agree after I said, "shut up and let me finish." I don't remember saying the "shut up" part, but I could well have. If so, I don't blame him for ending the conversation.

To me, it was just a conversation/debate, and nothing more. I think it is fun (I know, I'm strange) to get into passion conversations about things. Those kinds of conversations help me to work through things and clarify what I truly think. If I did tell Roy to, "shut up," then I went too far, yet to me they aren't real arguments in the sense that one walks away angry and frustrated.

I know I need to watch myself more because many people do think I am getting angry and confrontation, when that is not my intent. I especially have to watch myself when I am in a public place - me getting animated and passionate about something is going to cause others to think I am yelling at Roy (or whomever) and misunderstand. I just need to control my enthusiasm/passion/lets debate for the sake of debate tendencies.

I’m going to be heading off to N.J. and Ashton’s soon. Christmas is around the corner and my plane leaves at 6:40 am tomorrow. I’m glad Ashton lives only 15 minutes or so from Newark! I’m glad to spend the time with him.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

It is finished! By the grace of God and to His glory.

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Okay, I'm off to my oral final for Church Music. I have to sing a service, a gospel lesson, and a couple collects. This should be interesting, although I'm not doing half bad when practicing.

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I am practically giddy with relief! The final final exam is now over! It was simple. It was good. All I have to do now is sing for Church Music this afternoon and finish the take-home essay, then two small papers for O.T.

Nothing much more to do, really, unless of course I freeze up. By tomorrow evening, the first term of my three-year seminary career will be finished. Amazing!

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Tuesday, December 17, 2002

The problem is, I really don't want to study any longer!

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Today, the day before my last finals for this term, is going to be an interesting one. Not that I have so terribly much to do, although the day will be full with studying, but more so, I think, I feel that I'm glad tomorrow it will all be over, except three papers I have yet to write. Papers can be frustrating, but so much different than having to memorize facts and figures and concepts for an in-class exam. I cannot believe this first semester is all but over. No MTA transit strike!

Ashton is sleeping – quietly and peacefully in the midst of chaos and too much noise breaking in from 10th Ave. I wonder so much about it all.

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Monday, December 16, 2002

This morning, we all received an e-mail giving notice that Brad Reetz had been in an accident yesterday. He was on his motorcycle. His helmet was shattered. Brad was the head of maintenance for the seminary. The e-mail said his injuries were severe and that he was on life-support. During Evensong tonight, we were told that he had died.

I spoke to Brad late last week. He was a man's-man kind of guy. Tall and strapping with grey hair combed back. He was they typical Italian looking guy from Brooklyn. When we first met, I had on a Kent State t-shirt and he asked about it. Turns out, he went to Hiram College! Of all places, in the middle of know where, why would a life-long New Yorker pick a little liberal arts school in the middle of no were in N.E. Ohio? He said he wanted to go to school away from the city and most of all, Hiram offered him a baseball scholarship. I wouldn't have even thought Hiram had an intercollegiate baseball team!

I have this strange and overwhelming sense of the fleeting nature of life. I was told he liked to go fast on his motorcycle, and his death may have been because of his own negligence, but he was not old enough to simply die. I saw a person late last week and on Monday, he dies. I'm not sure why I feel this way - so strongly - by someone I hardly know; yet, I do. There is a strong sense of community on the Close. This seminary is small and you can easily know everyone. Maybe the living day-in-and-day-out in a small, enclosed campus, in a peaceful and serene place in the middle of loud Manhattan has something to do with it. I'm not sure.

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Thursday, December 12, 2002

Hi John!

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Thursday, December 05, 2002

It is snowing this morning! The weather guy on WNYC is saying we can expect 6-8 inches - I can't wait. I've seen snow in the city before, and it can be very pretty - for a while, that is. There won't be any snowman making around here, however. Trying to push a giant snowball around the sidewalks of Chelsea just won't cut it.

Just like getting back into the academic paper writing mode, I've got to get back into writing down my thoughts. I've done a little more writing in my paper journal, but for the most part pulling things out of my brain and onto paper or here is proving difficult. I'm not sure why, other then that I've been so focused on trying to get all these papers finished and all the books read that actually taking time to think through something that resonates with me just isn't happening.

There was a report from the Episcopal News Service yesterday concerning the proposed move of the headquarters to General, which would mean major reconstruction of several buildings. The report said that those committees at the headquarters have recommended the move not happen. The plan would be a financial boon for the seminary, but would certainly change the character of this place. I wonder what will happen now. It wouldn't surprise me if the Dean resigned in the near future. He has put so many of his eggs in that basket that I don't know whether he will be able to reorient himself and envision a new course for the seminary. He has plans for the future, but without the financial bailout, I don't know whether finances will permit the new plans - both academic and bricks-n-mortar. I just hope things are maintained for the next three years - well really 5 years. That would give me a couple years after school to secure a job, etc., before the reputation begins to fail. Frankly, I don't know how an institution of higher education of this size survives, especially in such an expensive location like New York City, but I'm glad it has (and will!).

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Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Sitting here, finishing my music paper and watching out the window every now and then, I am amazed that there are not a whole lot more accidents around here! These people are crazy - not like the aggessive drives of Europe, but these people are just stupid!

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Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Everything is coming down to the wire. Four more days of classes and my first term is finished! What is left? Intro. to Spiritual Direction - 10-15 page paper covering group spiritual direction, with copious citations, including outside readings. The outside readings are not going to happen - there just isn't enough time, plus this class isn't worth the effort, frankly. It has been a big disappointment. Old Testament - two more review papers, which means I have to read additional outside books and review them; final exam. I could also exegete a passage. Not too much for of O.T. New Testament - if my stage three exegesis is sufficient, I'm finished with N.T.! Tutorial Seminar - I think I am finished with this class, also. I just have to check and make sure nothing more is required. This class has really been nothing more then a glorified new student orientation course, although good things have come from it. Music - term project write-up; written and oral final exams. Can't really say much about this class. At times, it has seemed like a waste of time, but learning to sing the services has been very helpful, and his stories are often amusing. He is an interesting guy.

Okay, so it is cold and sunny today in New York City. It doesn't help that my windows are incredibly drafty! Great windows, though, and a great view!

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Monday, December 02, 2002

Bishop Williams (retiring Bishop Suffragan) was here yesterday and took Deon, Lisa, and I out for dinner. It was, of course, his last episcopal visit of checking up on seminarians. Great meal - can't remember the name of the restaurant, but it is French located on 8th between 20th and 19th. Good food - way too much food! I'm sad to see him go. He has been my oversight for this whole process and I have grown to greatly respect him. The man has been through a whole lot of things - he was denied permission by his Bishop in a New England state when he first approached him for approval to seek ordination because the Bishop didn't think a black man could be employed. Even with the Episcopal Church's long-standing policy and practice for ordaining black people in this country, even in New England, the Bishop wouldn't approve him. Yet, despite the bigotry and probably because of it, he is highly effective and sensitive to issues of justice and has an understanding of doubt that is wonderful.

Ashton is off to St. Martin with his mother and John. A yearly trek for him, but this time with John. They've been trying to do this for 15 years now, since they became friends in high school. He is so thrilled! I'm thrilled for him! I can't wait until he gets back! :-)

Only one more week of classes. Reading week. Finals week, and then I'm through until the end of January. This semester has flown by, and I can hardly believe I've been here this long. And, what changes!

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Friday, October 18, 2002

I've said all along, specifically concerning my web-journal in my website, that when writing my concern is getting thoughts on paper, rather than grammar or spelling. Anyone who reads this weblog, my journal, or my quiet-time entries will know that my sentences may not be complete, my thought processes or progression may not be very logical or rational, or certain words I use may not be the best.

Well, this has come back to bite me in the you-know-where. I got back my first paper, which I have to admit was done at the last minute, and grammatically I did not do very well. It is a sad commentary when someone, like me, who already has a Master's degree, sees comments made on my paper like, "not a complete sentence." Its embarrassing.

Okay, so I need to be cognizant of grammar from now on. Frankly, I am not very excited about the whole prospect. I have never really made the effort to learn English grammar well; I always hated diagramming sentences; I get all blocked up when I have to think about dangling participles or how to avoid the passive voice. Yet, I have to, else I'm going to be in big trouble. These on-line things have to be a little more correct in form, I suppose. I know in the long run it only benefits me - both in class assignments that prove my academic prowess, and also for the comfort of anyone who may read this stuff.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Spending parts of Sunday thru Tuesday with Ashton was wonderful. Spending Sunday and Monday in New Jersey was a nice break from the Close and the City. Of course, I accomplished far less then I had planned. I needed to get more done, but that's life!

My side of the apartment is without heat, and I'm not sure why. It has been a bit cold since Sunday! Today, it's raining like Ohio rain - sideways. There were flood warnings for Manhattan for today - the sewer system is predicted to not be able to handle the volume of rain. I don't think it has been raining all that much - steady but more a drizzle - but the wind has been quite strong.

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Friday, October 11, 2002

I'm not sure what to think about the differences of opinion that many here at General have concerning a whole variety of things theological. It isn't that I have a problem with the differences, per say, because the dynamic is wonderful as we move towards a more balanced and I think true understanding of God and God's ways, yet the forming of personal understandings and beliefs that remove any type of supremacy of scripture is proving problematic for many. It is easy for many to discount and explain away many aspects of theological understanding of God and God's ways presented in scripture because it doesn't present an image of God they desire - problems with the violence in the Hebrew scriptures for example doesn't jib with notions of God's all goodness and all love. Another example is what seems to be a universal discounting of the existence of a being commonly know as Satan or the Devil and demons. The idea that there is an entity that influences us towards evil or our more base selves just seems beyond many. I don't understand how they could claim a supernatural being - God - yet cannot fathom another supernatural being that influences for evil - Satan. Not that Satan is a god or is equivalent to God in any way - a created being who strived to be god and rebelled against God through his pride and arrogance. Removing this idea opens up so many problems as they try to explain the presence of evil and/or how God could allow evil and tragedies such as 9/11.

Speaking of allowing evil and existence of Satan, if we are to truly have free will, which many say we truly don't have, it seems reasonable that there is an evil presence of choice opposing a good presence with whom we can align.

Of course, this is all speculation based on belief at this point. To formulate a good theology and/or philosophy of all this is why I'm here. I've thought through much of this with the resources I have at this point, but the purpose of the next three years is to gather even more that enables me to formulate even better theologies/philosophies concerning life and the divine. The challenges of others with at times drastically different understandings is great - the challenges help me delineate what I truly think and believe. It will be very interesting to see where I am after these three years.

My goal is truth, simply. I really don't have a soap box, yet I believe what I believe at this point and until something more reasonable, rational, or responsible comes along I will argue my point. I certainly do have biases and pre-conceived notions, but that's okay as long as they don't become sacred cows - unchallengeable.

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Thursday, October 10, 2002

I'm really wondering right now whether I've gotten myself into another relationship that really isn't workable. I hate to say that, and I don't want to say that, but there is this gut feeling that maybe Ashton and I are not going to be right for one another. Not that we are not necessarily compatible, but that we simply will not be the best for one another. I don't know. I just wonder whether this is going to turn into another relationship like past relationships, even though I am so cognizant of past mistakes. And, it isn't that Ashton or the others are not great guys in their own right, but maybe another guy would be a better match for them, and another guy would be a better match for me.

It isn't that I'm looking for the perfect person, but what in the world holds Ashton's interest in me? What about Ashton holds my interest? The way we met, strange as it is, and the quickness with which we have given over much time to one another - well I just wonder whether my determination, after John, to take things very slowly, to really get to know the person well before even considering a move into a relationship, has been thrown out the window. Well, it has been thrown out the window, but I wonder whether I am simply going back to old habits, old ways.

I've told Ashton that I love him, and that is exactly the way I feel. Not lust, but I do love him in that I want the best for him, I feel excited to see him and spend time with him, I want him to be the most he can be as a person created in God's image. I know things are still very premature in the scheme of things - really too early to know whether I honestly love anyone or not, yet this is how I feel and what I have expressed to Ashton. Am I truly jumping the gun, again? Do I know him well enough to know whether something permanent will arise? I doubt it, nor does he know me well enough.

I ask whether, for now, I can simply enjoy his presence... whether I can simply enjoy spending time with him. Would it be better to listen to this hesitance inside and say so and put things off, or to just enjoy now and continue and see were things will go? After the ego boundaries reassert themselves, I'm sure both of us will be doing some reconsidering and renegotiating.

I hope, I really do hope, things will work for the good, for the future. I do like Ashton, I feel I love him, I can see a future, but things are still new and as we reassert ourselves in time, will all those things remain. Only time will tell...

I fear, though, that I may push things too much. As Vince said about John, "you're too much for him." I am an intense person who wants to figure things out right now, here and now. I want to answer all the questions and if I can't then work on them diligently. As John would tell me, I need to just let things be for now - enjoy the now. What does it benefit me to be so concerned about the future. I can't know. It adds nothing to my life, or the quality of our relationship, or his wellbeing, to be so concerned about whether things will work or not - in the future! Enjoy him now, look to his best interests, grow with him, and just be as content as I am when we are laying next to each other talking.

(The above repeats what I wrote in my journal entry for today. Until I get back into a regular routine of writing, the repeats my be the norm rather then the exception.)

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Wednesday, October 02, 2002

I'm waiting for Ashton to call. Excitedly and expectantly. I've discovered more then I thought that these beginning few months of transition and courses make life pretty difficult and stressful. Finding a routine has been tough, partly because the seminary keeps throwing in all these extra meetings and seminars and matriculation ceremonies and, and, and… If we could simply have one normal week, I think I could actually see what a routine might look like. I feel so far behind and the anxiety of upcoming exams and papers due is building. It isn't that I don't think I can do well. It is just I don't have a grasp of the over all picture in terms of course requirements, assignments, and all that. There is always this feeling of "what am I missing now," or "something is due tomorrow and I haven't even started it."

The curve ball, of course, is Ashton. I did not count on meeting someone and beginning a relationship. If things had continued as I had planned, I would probably be much more rested, have much more accomplished, and feel more integrated into the seminary community. Not that I don't feel a part of the community, but I would be spending the time I am with Ashton with others or doing more homework or maybe even working out a little more. Thursday evenings with the boys of Seabury Heights watching Survivor and Big Brother, for example. Feeling more rested and wanting to go out to G with the Tim and Wendy and Chris and Roy and the others. Who knows? Anyway, here is Ashton. I would not trade the possibilities of him and a future with him for anything! He is wonderful. And, I am anxious and worried and fearful and everything wondering just how this is going to work. Wondering whether this is a false start or whether I just might have a real relationship with someone who might know what that is and wanting of the same things I want in another.

I'm waiting for his call. He is coming up tonight, later this afternoon straight from Light Fields. I need to talk to him tonight about whether he really knows what he is getting himself into by dating me. My life is odd and not my own. I am not a normal kind of guy. My life will not be normal. Does he have a clue? Can he be interested in the different aspects of my life? Will the expectations and perceptions placed upon me, both positive and negative, be manageable for him? Does he have any interest or concern with his own spiritual life as a Christian? Will the persecution and controversy that I will become be too much for him? Will the demands and intensity of this life of mine now and to come be too much? Does he know what he is getting himself into?

This is an interesting time. Living in New York City. Going to the NY City Opera. Going to interesting movies that may or may not appear in Cleveland. Secretary. His Secret Life. Facing all the temptations that readily present themselves. Not knowing where I will fit into the "system." A future that is a complete blur. A current life made all the more rich and exciting by a certain person - by someone that just might be.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2002

It is 11:00 pm on September 10th. Tomorrow will be the anniversary... the one year anniversary. The city seems to be all right, thus far, except for the media tributes that keep playing. This past weekend, during the retreat, several middlers shared about their experience last year - what they are feeling about this year. It seems I'm between two worlds. One, the world of those who were hear to feel, to taste, to hear, to smell, to see, simply to experience everything from the fall of the towers, yet I was not here that day, that one day, nor for the weeks that followed. I was here, though. The other world comprises those who experienced the attack from afar. I was here and saw, and smelled, and heard. I don't belong to either group, yet both, and I don't know how I am going to respond tomorrow.

The cable guy said today he is just going to a movie. He was down there, then. The percussion smashed his windshield. J.R. is going to sleep late and work out. We all, here at General, will go to Morning Prayer. Afterwards, several of us will travel down to Trinity Wall Street and St. Paul's Chapel - hopefully we will be able to get into Trinity for the choral Evensong at 11:00 am. Evensong, because they are broadcasting the service in England. The Lord Mayer of London, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop, and others will be there to remember and to present a newly made bell from the sister-parish in London as a gift to Trinity. I hope we can get in. Here, at General, they will be reading aloud all the names of the missing and killed. And the terrorists. I will be there for Evening Prayer, where I should finally meet Doug, Ned's boyfriend. Afterwards, Ned and I are planning on walking up the East River trail up to the site, as we did last year. I've run up to that point twice now. It's hard to believe.

Ashton was/is due back tonight, I think. He called from the airport in Louisville, but I missed the call. I thought he would be home by now, but really have no idea where or what he is doing. I really want to see him, talk to him. God, could it be possible? Really possible?

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Thursday, August 29, 2002

Things are progressing. Orientation is going on. I've written lots of stuff in my paper journal and not much here at this point. We get our cable modem hooked up next Thursday, so my Internet access will finally be restored. I've been lost and have come across so many things where the Internet would have made life so much easier!

Anyway, the first thing that has caused me to thing or contemplate came today during the reflection after Morning Prayer in the chapel. This is it - simple, sweet, and all that: "What are you seeking?"

So, what am I seeking? I have said repeatedly that I'm seeking Truth, which I believe resides in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ruth, Sara, and on and on. Is that true? Yes, for the most part, but why am I here? To seek? To learn? To experience New York? To try to figure out what I want to do, or what I'm supposed to do? Why am I here? What am I seeking? An easy life? To call others to seek God? To fool around for a few years?

That is an excellent question to present before people generally. Someone comes by and it is a good question that is none threatening, open, yet with incredible seriousness and potential. What are you seeking? To fill the hole inside? To resolve life? To be at pease? To escape? To be told what to do? and on and on....

More about all that later when I'm able to get to the Internet when I need to, when I feel like just writing, rather then when the lab is convenient.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Well, I'm here in the big city! Leaving was horrible, terrible, miserable, but now that the move is over I'm looking forward and getting to know some of my fellow first year peers. More then ever, I've felt who and what I have left behind. Leaving once in a life time friends has been so difficult this time - I guess that comes with age and perspective of what is really important.

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Friday, August 16, 2002

Waking up early - what's that? Yesterday, 2:30 am. This morning, 3:00 am. Today, we load up the truck and I take sleeping pills to get good nights sleep at a hotel! Tomorrow, we pull out of the parking lot of St. Paul’s, Lisa and I, her in her 24' truck (which was supposed to be a 14' truck) and me in my 15' truck at 5:00 am. At least I don't have to worry about over sleeping! I hope.

These past few weeks have been some of the most stressful in my life. I know a lot of the anxiety and stress have been of my own making, but I had no idea how to calm myself down. Depression, realization of who I'm leaving behind, all the problems with U-Haul, on Wednesday getting a call from Ryder that I wouldn't have a truck and having to clear that up, not knowing for sure whether Pat was able to come to help unload, lack of sleep, all add up for a very rough week!

This morning, the end is in sight and I talked to Jason, one of my new roommates at General. Everything seems to be lined up on that end, unless of course something has been fouled up on their end. I sent my deposit checks, etc. Everything should be good to go.

I wrote John a letter via e-mail. A the-door-will-always-be-open letter. I feel better - I've said what I felt I wanted to say. My suspicion is that it doesn't really mean all that much to him - once over a relationship, it's over. Yet, for myself, I know I wanted to say the things I did in the letter and there is only one life, only certain opportunities, and I want to live that life to the full without fear, insecurity, worry about what he or anyone could think of me. I want to live an honest and open life and not saying things can be as dishonest as anything else. I'm sure nothing will come of it, but it is written and he knows what he has meant to me, despite and over-arching the problems we had and the issues he (we) dealt (deals?) with.

I am so tired right now, but sleep eludes me. A very long day today, a very long drive tomorrow. Once all the unloading is done, it will be over, finally. It is 5:10 am, EST.

I turn over my car to the new owners at 9:30 am this morning.

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Sunday, August 11, 2002

I woke up again this morning at around 4:15 am. Today is moving day, unless of course I have repeat of last Saturday when U-Haul just couldn't come up with the truck I reserved two weeks earlier before I had to cancel it - too late in the day. Technically, I still don't have a truck for today, but was told they think they can have one by noon. This is the last time I use U-Haul, if I can help it. Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to reserve a Ryder truck (from a trustworthy place) for the move to New York City.

Friday was hard, but good, my last day. Sharona had a card made with a picture of Pat and I off our cubicle wall. She added an earring and necklace and designed the cover of the card with big bold words - "Bling Bling." A couple days before a conversation came up where I related our trip to Toronto where Sam and Randy kept going through the cheap shops on Yong St. talking about bling-bling. They both teach in the Cleveland Public Schools as technology guys for the elementary schools. As I was talking, I yelled over the cubicle wall to Sharona, who has worked with the Upward Bound program at Kent and thus with high school students. I asked her if she ever heard of bling-bling, to which she responded, "Yes, Bob, of course I've heard of bling-bling," in that kind of what-do-you-think? way. So, she had the brilliant idea of making the card. It was great. But, the best part was that the card wasn't just a joke, because she wrote under the card cover, "As you move onto other challenges, remember 'No pressure, no diamonds.'" It was great!

So, Diane wrote in my book Amy made for me last year. I said goodbye to everyone once again - much harder this year! I said good-bye to Pat, but will see him next weekend as he helps me move to NYC. It is going to be hard not seeing him and talking to him on a regular basis. Amy, I will say good-bye today, probably.

Jason has moved into the apartment and he seems pleased with it. He has dubbed it the "Penthouse." I think I am taking way too much stuff to NYC, even though it isn't much at all.

I'm feeling tired. I'm feeling depressed and anxious. I know it will all work out fine. I know I have time even if I don't get a truck today. My car sold yesterday for what I was asking, so that pressure is gone. In a week, I will be in New York City and start the big adventure.

Oh, I am typing this on my new 17” screen iMac. I didn’t like the new iMac’s when they came out last year, but they are great machines! I love it. I picked it up on Friday after work, which gave me something good to look forward to after an emotional last day at work. Incidentally, it was a whirlwind day – work, computer, went to Boarders one last time with Amy, then a late dinner with Sam and Russ.

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Saturday, August 03, 2002

These past two days have not been the best. Yesterday, I woke up quite depressed - if I could just identify what in the world is causing this I would be okay. Things may suck, but if they are understandable I can deal with it. I know the whole moving and leaving everyone, the prospects to come, not knowing the outcome of the next three years, etc., all contribute to this dull ache, which sometimes isn't so dull.

So, yesterday, I got an e-mail from Continental Airlines advertising their weekly web specials. $69.00 round trip from Cleveland to Newark! I bought a ticket for Patrick to fly to NYC to help unload the truck when I arrived at General. He was then going to fly back on Monday. So, how lucky can I get? Well, walking back from the Student Center the thought struck me like a ton of bricks, "Pat isn't flying to New York on the 17th, he is flying to New York tomorrow!" Yes, in fact, because of my inattentiveness I failed to notice that the restrictions held that the flights were for this weekend only. Why in the world did I not pay attention to that? So, I called, and they will not change the date, will not apply the cost to another more expensive ticket, will not transfer the ticket - I lose $91.00 when it is all said and done. Okay, if they insist on being that inflexible when I call an hour after making the reservation and will not make any type of accommodation, they won't get any more of my money! All those flights back and forth between New York City and Cleveland over the next three years - I have choices, and I will exercise them. Pat, in all his consideration, will drive up to NYC and meet me there.

So then, this morning I still do not have a U-haul truck to move all the non-NYC stuff to my parents. Why do I still not have a truck? Who the heck knows, but even after making the reservation more then two weeks ago, they say they MAY have a truck available sometime this afternoon - which really doesn't do me any good because the U-haul storage facility closes by 7:00 pm tonight. Well, I could probably do it, but no one to help load the truck if it is too late in the afternoon. This does not, of course, make my day any better. U-haul is like Greyhound, they get things moved around but you really can't count on them all that much, their equipment is generally old, and encountering them isn't really all that pleasant of an experience. To be fair, I really haven't had that much problem with U-haul in the past. This just doesn't make me happy.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2002

I couldn’t sleep this morning – still depressed and anxious about the move coming up. Not that I’m not looking forward to it, but saying good-bye just sucks, as Amy would say. So, I picked-up on the article in the July/August edition of The Atlantic Monthly, a great magazine by-the-way, American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center. This is supposed to be an incredible article - at least that is what the NPR reviewer said.

The author, William Langewiesche, had immediate access to the site and just finished a paragraph talking about his experiences oversees being in the midst of failing societies and how this reminded him of those experiences and sites, except for one added element – the uniquely American character of the whole unfolding event.

Many people talk about the uniqueness of the American psyche, a unique culture that expresses itself in both good and bad ways. This is one of the examples of an American cultural psyche at its best.

One paragraph in particular sums up this understanding: “But you could never confuse New York with a back corner of the world, and the ruins did not actually look like a war zone either. There was sadness to the site, to be sure, and anger, but there was none of the emptiness – the ghostly quality of abandonment – that lurks in the aftermath of battle. In fact, quite the opposite quality materialized here: within hours of the collapse, as the rescuers rushed in and resources were marshaled, the disaster was smothered in an exuberant and distinctly American embrace. Despite the apocalyptic nature of the scene, the response was unhesitant and almost childishly optimistic: it was simply understood that you would find survivors, and then that you would find the dead, and that this would help their families to get on with their lives, and that your resources were unlimited, and that you would work night and day to clean up the mess, and that this would allow the world’s greatest city to rebuild quickly, and maybe even to make itself into something better then before. From the first hours these assumptions were never far away.” (p47)

I think, for various reasons, Americans are still, over all, “unhesitant and almost childishly optimistic” in a good way. There are plenty of detractors who condemn the many things Americans get wrong, but for the most part there is a unique quality of the American cultural experience that continues to give us an optimism, an unhesitant desire to help those in need, a belief that we can do anything. Again, this sense can get us into all kinds of trouble, yet the world looks at America and sees something different and to many something unique and positive.

I thought Langewiesche’s paragraph summed-up just a part of the American experience.

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Friday, July 26, 2002

Nice, clean, shiny car once again. Now, to sell it is all I need (aside from the best price I can get!).

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I just received an e-mail news update concerning the International Anglican Conversations on Human Sexuality. They have just published their report detailing the outcome of a three-year study on homosexuality in the Anglican Communion world-wide, which is THE issue right now and which could well divide the communion. Click here for the article from the Episcopal News Service

I just don't know where this is all leading. It causes me a lot of consternation. I have this underlying fear that I will finish seminary and for whatever reason will not be ordained, regardless of what my Bishop says or intends to do. He is committed to inclusion and has ordained gay people in committed relationships, and the rest. Things change, though. And, I'm just getting so tired of this debate. I'm getting tired of the pro-inclusion camp being of the belief that scripture does not play the major role in the formulation of Church policy - I believe it does. I'm tired of the prohibitionist camp claiming that anyone who believes in inclusion cannot possibly understand scripture or doesn't take it seriously - which is completely untrue. I believe in inclusion because of what scriptures says, not what ancient teaching says the Bible says. Ancient teachings have gotten things wrong before, and I believe they are wrong on this issue, too. Yet, it will depend on who has the upper hand as to whether the Communion will remain together, whether gay people will continue to be ordained, and what kind of role gays will play in the Anglican Church - locally in the Episcopal Church - USA, and internationally. It just makes me nervous, and I've been around long enough to know that despite what those above me may say, my best interests are not generally theirs'.

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I have no clarity. I feel lost. Emotionally, I’m all over the place, absolutely. I feel this pang in my chest and don’t know where it is coming from, don’t know how to identify it. It’s there all the same. What am I feeling? Do these feelings mean anything – something I won’t or can’t recognize, admit?

I’ve written a lot about missing John, at least in my journal, maybe more so in my paper journal, but I know things were over a long time ago and we are both probably better off, at least as the people we where then. As Vince said back then, “you’re just too much for him,” but I pray that he will be too much himself – deep, secure, joyful, sincere, with a thrill for life. That he becomes the person he is meant to be – full-life.

Yet, I can’t seem to get over the thoughts or feelings of the sense of lose I’m feeling about friendship with Pat. He is such a unique individual – someone you come across once in a lifetime. I don’t think I will ever come across someone like him again. I’m feeling the loss of seeing him and working with him every weekday even now, even before I leave, even though I will see him in a couple hours. I have learned what kind of person I want to be with, share my life with, from him. Is that realization contributing to this melancholy?

I really don’t know anything right now.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Life is better with two.

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Sunday, July 21, 2002

Packing up stuff... well, starting to at least. Sifting through my books to figure out what goes to New York, to Lima, to somewhere else. I came across my old journals - these particular ones spanned 1992 through September of 2000. I wish I had been more diligent - there are wide gaps missing, significant stuff gone but for memories fading. Lots of struggles with being gay, being Christian, being one thing but wishing, wanting for another. Struggles to remain faithful to what I professed, then struggles to come to terms with what was real. Struggles with Mark. Even greater struggles with John. Parents knowing. School starting and then in a flash ending. The beginning of my Episcopal self, discernment, off to General the fall of 2000. None in that particular order. If I had actually started then, this would be my final year. I just can't image that. So much has happened these past two years. Three weeks plus left until I actually do leave. What will I be after the end of the next three years?

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Friday, July 19, 2002

I've been reading Genesis lately (in the Bible, just in case there is a question), up to the 24 chapter right now. Reading of the beginnings of God's work and eventual covenant with his creation, (I don't know what word to use) I'm struck/encourged/??? by how the simple lives of people like Noah and Abraham where taken up, changed, moved forward into becoming the agents of dramatic events. Simple men and women who for the history and destiny of peoples changed the course of events, the course of history. Neither of them where in the beginning considered great men, yet God took them and made them into their destiny, their potential, the true selves.

I think that within each of use, God imprinted the ideal person for ourselves to become. With that ideal, we find our fullest potential, our fullest sense of wellbeing, accomplishment, peace, purpose, joy, satisfaction, and in the end the ability to look back and not regret. In the person inside that God has created us to be, we have life to the full - mature, complete, and lacking nothing. I'm not saying that we are pre-ordained or pre-destined to be or do anything, necessarily. I'm just saying that without the influences of a corrupt world, that ideal person inside is who we would becoming. We would reach our true, complete selves (and that isn't being self-actualized - well, maybe it is but in a different context). Yet, we live in a world that does its best to corrupt our true selves - everything to corrupt God's imprint and cause us to move further and further away from God's intent. We become less-then our true selves, less-then what we could become - half-lives, sad lives, unfulfilled lives, un-accomplished lives with a sense of missing... something. In the end, we cannot look back on life and be satisfied and proud.

The idea of Christ coming to begin reconciling the world with God, the idea of taking each of us and beginning the process of change so that we will come to understand and then recognize the true self that God created within us - to recognize the self buried deep and covered over by a myriad of layers of masks, layers of protection and self-preservation, layers of lies and distortions born of fear and insecurity and abuse, layers of misunderstandings that cause us to see ourselves as far less then we honestly are - becomes so foreign to us that we push it away, deny it, reject it, or replace it with notions of self-help and self-speak. The idea is to be continually renewed as we are made into the image of Christ - a lifelong process that at times is horrendous and at times ecstatic, but all the time worth it!

This is the process that so many live without. There is so much searching and seeking to fill that void that seems so real and so present during many times of our lives. We try to fill it with religion, with work, with love, with sex, with drink, with renown, with fame, with power, with education, with money, with position, with altered states, with thrill and danger, with a mountain of things, yet we come out on the other side of the effort and the void is still there - it seems to be mocking us. "Fill me with more and more and more and you will be satisfied! Try harder to dull the pain and make me satisfied and you will be happy! Feed me, feed me, feed me..." After a time, it doesn't work anymore. The drugs ware off. The money doesn't bring the happiness and security was seek. The fame doesn't make us feel better about ourselves. All the while, a still small voice, a voice that is not rude or abusive, is calling us to the process of reconciliation with God, of understanding and seeing our true selves that will once and for all fill the void and shut-up the shrill voice of the void that demands all our attention always. The process of being made into the image of Christ - our true selves, our fullness, our purpose, our joy - to live life to the full.

This life may not be what we expect (or even initially want), but it will be the life worth living, the life that is satisfied and proud in the end. I believe like Noah, like Abraham, like Sara, and so many others over the millennia, we cannot even begin to know what life awaits us. Each of us will accomplish great things - maybe in just one other life (a small girl that we help become the leader of many), maybe in a thousand lives (a discoverer of a cure), yet the accomplishment will change life for ourselves, for that one other, or perhaps for nations.

The processes is glorious - we become far more then we could imagine of ourselves and shed ourselves of the false sense of who and what we are. We rid ourselves of the fear and insecurity that kills us inside. We simply live life to the full. Will we begin the process? Will we allow God to begin the work inside of us? Can we muster the courage and determination? It begins with a yes - a simple yeilding to the still, small voice. "I want to be the person you created me to be. I want life to the full." More then we could ever imagine...

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Monday, July 15, 2002

I was listening to NPR on my way home today. They had a bit on Heather Nova's new CD, South, and the song Virus of the Mind. She was talking about how we so often get caught up in the expectations of others, our society, Madison Ave., and the like, that we loose track of who we are - allowing others to determine who we are, what we believe, what we want, rather then relying upon our own intuition, our own sense. She calls this a virus of the mind.

I just don't think I can take being forced into the form of an Episcopal priest that most people will expect. I'm having a hard time with that. I don't know where I will fit in, but the notion that I loose myself because of the position and the position's expectations.

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Saturday, July 13, 2002

Just got done talking with Ruben. We've been playing phone-tag for a few weeks now, but to be honest he has been much more diligent in trying to get hold of me then I him. Time - where does the time go? I was very glad to talk to him. We met a couple years ago during the Soulforce action in Cleveland during the United Methodist Convention. Ruben is a really neat guy - very interesting, very passionate, honest. Hopefully, he will be able to visit in New York (he lives in Miami).

On another note, I was talking this morning with a new guy who came to Frontrunners (actually he has been there a couple times before, but I haven't really talked to him). When he found out I am going to seminary conversation turned to those sorts of things. He made a comment about his observations of gay male culture that really resonated with me. He said he has observed three things of gay males (which of course are generalizations, yet certainly true for many), 1) they are lonely; 2) they are obsessed with sex; and 3) they have been so disillusioned (my word) with the church/Christianity that they deal not at all with their own spirituality or get involved in an unconcerted way with new age and/or nefarious sorts of spirituality.

I think I agree with him.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2002

I picked-up my Aeron chair yesterday. I'm happy. This chair is absolutely comfortable - studying will be much easier now! lol

Thanks to my brother, the architect, who got the chair for about 60% off retail! I couldn't afford it otherwise. It still wasn't cheap and I'm wondering whether spending that much money was a wise thing to do, considering the computer stuff I want to get, and now the enormous car repair bill I have. A month and a half before I get rid of the car and I have to pay $1,000.00 to get it fixed. I'm going to be lucky to break even. Anyway, the chair is great and whether it was wise or not, I have it now. I'm sure in a few months I will certainly appreciate it!

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Thursday, July 04, 2002

As I've read a number of other people's journals, websites, especially those with cams, I'm struck how many of them while having full lives say they are a bit challenged in the relationship department. Something along the lines of, "I've given up on the idea of having a relationship - too busy, too insecure, just don't seem to fit....” A number of them have also said something like, "after all, I don't know who would be really comfortable with the website."

I'm wondering whether the weblog phenomena, personal websites and cams, on-line journals, etc., are all an attempt by many to fulfill the very real human need of knowing and being known. Rather then being honest and vulnerable with a boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse, they instead pour themselves into their websites, their virtual selves, in order to be known.

I wonder about this myself. Even though I have high-sounding reasons for trying to be open and honest in a public venue for the sake of others who may struggle with various things, I wonder whether this is an attempt to have others understand me - to know me.

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Wednesday, July 03, 2002

It is amazing some of the information one can find on the Internet about someone else. I did a google search for one of the guys I will be rooming with in a couple months. He graduated from the conservatory at U.of Cincinnati - I found some music he has done on acidplanet. Mostly remix-sample-techno stuff, but I think good. This sound be interesting.

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Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Since this morning, those of us rooming together at General are now saying a bit about ourselves - intro type stuff. So, here is what I wrote as an introduction of myself. Pretty general, but hey...

Since Roy began the intro process and I neglected to in my last e-mail, I will add my two cents here:

I grew up in a small town in Ohio along the shores of Lake Erie. I currently live in Akron, OH and work at Kent State University as a techno-geek - although I think of myself as one of the cool-geeks. :-) I was supposed to begin seminary last year, but had a cancer scare and had to put everything off at the last minute. Anyway...

I grew up Pentecostal (Foursquare Gospel Church). Upon graduating from college I spent 7 years in campus ministry with Chi Alpha Christian Fellowships (Assemblies of God) in Ohio and Germany. I taught high school for one year. In '94 I finished my graduate work in Higher Ed./College Student Development and became an Episcopalian. The past few years have been quite interesting for me spiritually.

I'm a neat person, although I can be a bit cluttered. I'm pretty laid back, although quite fidgety. I'm definitely a morning person (I'm usually just wake-up by 5:30 am or so - my best studying time is early in the morning). I think that will help in trying to schedule bathroom time. I try to be in bed by 10:30 pm. I love to get into discussions (which my Mom calls raging disagreements) about all kinds of things. I tend to play the devils-advocate. Sometimes, people get the wrong idea and think I'm getting mad, but really I'm just animated (mildly so - my Mom is just a little over sensitive). My spiritual/academic interests revolve around faith-development, young people, and technology. Where those three things intersect is where I want to be.

I have a website, but am hesitant to give it out because you guys would know a heck of a lot more about me then I know of you all. I think I would rather you meet me in person first. I have a proposal for you all concerning the website! I love sci-fi (even the bad stuff), all kinds of music, movies, travel, just walking around and discovering new places, eating new kinds of food, working-out, jogging. I am pretty adventurous.

I'm Anglo-Saxon with a good amount of Cherokee thrown in for good measure, 5'10", in good shape, normal stuff. I plan on moving in NYC August 17th.

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Well, General sent my housing stuff to my parents. Why? Who the heck knows. Anyway, I got an e-mail this morning from one of my future roommates. That's cool! I'm excited about this.

Man, has it been hot. It's not just the heat, but the dang humidity that's the killer. I actually broke down and put my tiny air-conditioner in the front window. It isn't really big enough to cool the place effectively, but enough to take off the edge and keep the humidity down. When it doesn't get below 80 degrees at night, even a cool basement doesn't stay too cool any longer.

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Sunday, June 30, 2002

Russ stopped be this evening. We decided to go for ice-cream rather than dinner, since both of us weren't particularly hungry. We ended up in Fairlawn, and wouldn't you know, totally unbeknown to me, Fairlawn was having their fireworks display tonight! So, we fooled around in the parking-lot consumerism hell of Montrose until they started.

I LOVE fireworks. Love 'em. Can't get enough of 'em. Thursday is Akron's display, which frankly is some of the best I've ever seen, and I've seen some good ones. I can't wait!

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Friday, June 28, 2002

Last Saturday, at Tina's for breakfast, with all the guys after our morning run, FrontRunners, I noticed an older women sitting at the table by the window. Her back was to the window. She ordered the same thing I did... chicken salad. They always give customers way too much stuff on the sandwiches at Tina's! The place was busy, as usual. It isn't a very big restaurant - owned by a local family, a very nice and fun family of Lebanese derivation, who always treat us gay boys very well. One time, a bit-off women came in and demand to remain at a table they were preparing for us - she just kind of pushed through and sat down, not waiting her turn. She wouldn't leave. They called the police. She yelled and screamed that they were discriminating against her (she was white, by the way). She told the police how dare they give a table to those fags, those freaks of nature, those immoral perverts. The police took her away.

Where was I? This women was probably in her 70's, I suspect. She was by herself, but didn't seem lonely at all. She was beautiful with her smart summer outfit, completely white hair fixed just so but not in a fastidious way, just enough make-up to complement her face. She reminded me so much of my grandmother. I just watched her as she ate her meal, as she watched what was going on around her. Of course, she couldn't finish the whole sandwich, and neither could I. She asked for a to-go container. I wanted to go up to her and tell her how pretty she was and that she reminded me so much of my grandmother, but I got involved with conversation with the guys and before I knew it she was up and leaving the restaurant.

Now, I think of my grandmother and how grand she is. I think of how pretty she is at 80 years old and how she loves to dress, and how she does very well. I've seen a number of people over the years who remind me of my grandmother. I've told a couple of them, but their responses where kind of cool. Maybe saying something like that isn't too cool. Anyway, I think about my grandmother and think how I'm not the best of grandsons. I don't call her or write nearly as often as I should, nearly as often as I think of her. I wish she knew how much I do think of her, how much I love her. I wish I could discipline myself enough to write or call and tell her. She just got an e-mail account. I think I will e-mail her and tell her.

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Thursday, June 27, 2002

The morning is cool, a welcome relief. The sky is wispy white and slight blue. I can hear low rumblings in the distance. Thunderstorms are coming. It's odd for this area to have the sky like this, to hear distant thunder, to have a storm approach slowly, lumberingly, without hurry. Normally, over the last years, it may feel like rain, but nothing happens until, suddenly, it hits seemingly out of nowhere. I love this kind of approach - building anticipation.

Maria McKee (then with Lone Justice) writes of her experience with storms on the last track of her (Lone Justice's) Shelter CD. The song is entitled "Dixie Storms," and is wonderful.

When I was younger
How I did wonder
What made the sweet Georgia rain
Make me feel so warm
And how God made a dixie storm
And how I loved those dixie storms
And the rumble in the sky
Brings a shudder to my soul
Oh, how I loved those dixie storms

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002

I hope the past week is not a precursor come August. The heat and humidity has the ability to wilt, and it has. If, during the middle/end of June is this bad and if all things continue as they normally do, August is going to be murder. Too humid, too hot. Both together make it unbearable at times. The city has been resurfacing the street mine empties onto, mostly during the evening and night time. I would still hate to be those guys in this humidity.

Skott Freedman's CD has certainly gotten under my skin. I can't stop listening to it. Why? Over and over again.

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Friday, June 21, 2002

I've got to stop listening to sad songs! As I normally do, I've been listening to Skott Freedman's CD over and over again - well, actually certain songs over and over again. The sad, emotive, personal, heart wrenching ones.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2002

No evaluation today. Mess up with Lotus Notes... or me.

There is a new female type staff person in Upward Bound. Pat and I went over to look at her computer, which I installed Lotus on yesterday, and which is having a start-up conflict with McAfee, and we started talking. Come to find out she grew up in Huron, just one town over from Vermilion, where I grew up, on the beautiful south shores of Lake Erie. A great place for a kid to grow up!

Anyway, she is 35, pretty, fit, smart, absolutely great personality, spent time in the Peace Corp in Botswana, is a teacher, was living in Flag Staff three months ago where she worked with Upward Bound, decided to move back to Akron to spend time with her family, especially her nieces and nephews, was a joy to talk with, did I mention she was pretty... and fit, a catch for any worth while guy. But, for whatever reason, I'm not on her team.

This is one of those times where I wish I was straight - she would be a great catch! Oh, and she is pretty and fit - did I say that already? Why do these things always happen? Not to sound conceited or anything, but women just fall for me (I know it sounds conceited!). Where are the same kind of males? Where are they? Where?

So, I have a voice male message after returning to my cubicle in another building from Geri, the Director of Upward Bound, and she said something like, "Guess who thinks you're really cute? I can't say, but she said she really wants to get to know you! Call me if you want to find out who it is. Call me on my cell phone." Of course, you have to image the tone and inflection of her voice being sing-songy, almost like a high school girl. Geri gets a kick out of match-making, I think. Well, it was her, the new staff person. She is the one. Great. Boy, I wish I was straight - did I mention she was really pretty and fit? Geri told her to have a lot of computer problems for some one-on-one time. Thanks!

I would like to get to know her more. She seems like a great person - very interesting. I will, but not in that kind of way. It is an easy let down when I tell a girl who is interested in me that I'm gay. That way it isn't about her, not a rejection of her, it's all about me.

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I hate performance reviews! It's kind of a moot point right now, since I will be gone in August. Who the heck cares, aside from the knowledge of how others see my work and effort. I guess I am interested in that, since I always have a tendency to under estimate myself. Well, I said the same thing last year and here I am, still at Kent (which isn't a bad thing by any means). Anyway, I'm not much into it this morning. This year's review is 9 pages long. Nine! Gad. Nothing much more then a bunch of check-marks. Forget all that writing. Forget about the planned professional development. Forget about strategic planning. Forget about any thing that takes more then two seconds of mental energy. Besides, my Dean said that for my review this year, there isn't not much will come of it.

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Monday, June 17, 2002

This is going to be one of those days. During pride stuff this weekend, I listened to a performer, Skott Freedman (Skott? - he's young), who was really good. Really good. I hardly ever listen to the performers because, well, to be honest I don't find them very compelling or all that great. Not that they are bad, but just not that great. Well, Skott caught my attention. I loved watching him play his electric piano (everything was outdoors). Watching him play reminded me of Daniel and the ease at which he just fooled around on the keys. It was second nature for Daniel, is second nature for Skott. Skott is a singer/songwriter. He's actually good - lyrics, music, performance - all seemed authentic, real, felt. Anyway, most of the lyrics were personal stuff that kicked me into memories and longings and passions that I've kept at bay, often hidden, buried. The journal entry I made yesterday kind of sums up what I was feeling all day, even in the midst of the race and tiredness. Actually, the tiredness is probably what opened my heart for the rush of feeling and emotion. I bought one of his CD's Saturday and listened to the whole thing yesterday while driving back to Akron. It put me into one big funk.

That's the thing with emotions - they certainly keep me real, grounded, authentic - sometimes ecstatic, and sometimes depressed. I was thinking this morning that my creatively, those things which find their start in the heart rather then the brain, has been stifled much for a good while now. Finding myself working with computers and programming and technical stuff pushed me much more into the realm of analytica - which side of the brain is that? Creativity doesn't swim well in a dry sea. This has been really odd for me, but has effected me more then I realized.

It's funny, because I have for most of my life leaned heavily on feeling, sensing, the still small voice inside, to make decisions, make sense of things, and to express myself. I haven't been there for a while now, but I want to get back to that place. In many ways, placing myself in the analytical way of being, using that side of my brain makes life easier - don't have to deal with all those fuzzy loose ends that revolve around emotions and feelings. Yet, how can someone who is those things stay away, keep them out there, forever? I can't. I've had a number of people tell me I have a gift for mercy. How can that be if the heart is subjugated to the brain?

In a couple months, I'm moving out of the modernist, Enlightenment inspired, logical way of being and back into the gooey world of sensing, emoting, feeling. Granted, the academic side of things will demand a good sense of study and logical thinking, but the essence of one's faith and relationship with God is always and forever - feeling. Relating to people, sensing them, discerning what is going on inside them, empathizing with them, crying with them, feeling with them - none of that is part of writing code, troubleshooting a piece of software, or fixing a computer. It is a world I am comfortable with, even though it does make me feel all the more - opens me to the feelings inside myself that aren't easily quelled. I should be more creative, then. Probably more myself, actually. I'm kinda nervous about that, honestly. My life is more interesting, more spontaneous, more fun, and most importantly more real - real life rather then contrived systematic life. But, sometimes those feelings are a bear to deal with. Where does this all lead...

I would like someone with whom to share it all. I think that is my biggest problem with feeling right now. Actually, the sense of aloneness is quite intense - not that I'm so overwrought with desire that I'm not functioning, but here I am in the midst of the very thing I wanted to avoid - 40 and relationshipless. God, in your providence, what the heck is going on? There are always those stories of finding the person, the seemingly perfect person, and asking the question, "Where have you been all my life?"

Friday, June 14, 2002

It just started pouring rain. Windy. Rain pounding the windows - lots of wind. I love rain storms. I've got to find my voice.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

For some odd reason, I'm feeling very nostalgic right now. Not really over anything in particular, although I was thinking about John earlier. I am a bit listless and bored today.

Tomorrow is Robin's dissertation defense. She is so nervous, but will obviously pass though the experience with no problem. Tomorrow, it will be Dr. Robin!

I'm really ready to get on with things. Two months and I'm moving. An apartment with 4 other guys I do not know, 5 bedrooms. The big city. No idea of the outcome, but taking the step anyway. I'm going to miss all these guys. Too much money I'm going to have to spend before I go - computer, chair, digital stuff for the website, and who knows what else. I hope the guys will be into doing a cam and website of our experience - all contributing. It could be a very interesting project in the midst of everything.

I'm really going to miss Pat. He has become a very good friend - an example of the friend to whom I will compare all others from this point forward. Then, of course and without question, Amy. Part of me was thinking that maybe John, but it seems no. Probably for the best, after all. That nostalgia thing again.

Off to the big city to find my fortune.

Listening: Natalie Imbruglia, White Lilies Island

Friday, June 07, 2002

I've been reading a discussion concerning whether Congress should pass legislation defining marriage between one man and one women only at The discussion is all over the place, but gay marriage is taking up a lot of space. Here is a comment from one of the posters asking those opposed to gay marriage what we should then do:

"I have to wonder how you want gay people to live:

+ Shacking up with their lover?

+ Marrying an unsuspecting heterosexual in order to be respectable to family and society?

+ Lesbians marrying gay men in order to have a family?

+ Lesbians marrying gay men in order to have marriage benefits and having real lovers they live with?

+ Gay men marrying God in order to conceal their homosexuality as a celibate priest?

+ Remaining celibate and in the closet?

+ Remaining celibate and being an anti-gay zealot?

+ Being married to a heterosexual while being homosexually-promiscuous on the side?

+ Having an entirely promiscuous lifestyle and believing that since society hates gays (and suspected gays) so much then why wait for monogamy or any other responsible lifestyle?

+ Be content knowing that your lack of legal monogamy is keeping the fragile institution of heterosexual marriage from completely dissolving?

+ What would you do if you were a homosexual who wanted to live the rest of your life with the person you loved yet legally couldn't?"

I think the questions are great! What DO they want us to do, aside from just deciding not to be gay any more or being healed of "Same-Sex Attraction Disorder?" Those two options come, of course, only from the Religious Right. I suppose there is no option for non-religious gay people.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

These are the last three days for Time Travelers, a great local record shop in Kent. The big, unfeeling, greedy corporate giants are taking over (well, maybe not quite that big). It's a shame they have to close the store - they were going to be forced into another much smaller store with a substantial rent increase. Dave, the proprietor, is an honest-to-goodness music aficionado. He will be moving to their lone other store in Cuyahoga Falls.

So, I bought two CD's today.
Listening: Harold Budd - she is a phantom and Marc Anthony
I was reading a book review in Christianity Today yesterday. The book deals with post-modernism and the Evangelical/Fundamentalist side of Christianity’s inability or difficulty in dealing with the fundamental worldview change. The review talks about the author’s contention that the E/F Churches’ are stuck in a modernist understanding of Christ, Christianity, the Bible, etc., and a good portion of those beliefs need to change because they are incorrect. Here is a long quote:

"In a conversation with Christianity Today, McLearn (the author) said our current approach to the age reminded him of a friend who worked in Washington as a spy. 'He saw everything through the lenses of the Cold War – who was good, who was bad, and what his mission was,' McLaren said. 'When the Cold War ended, he was lost. His worldview no longer served him well in a new climate, and he didn’t know how to adjust. We evangelicals tend to be that way at the death of modernism.'

"At the same time, contemporary evangelicalism is deeply steeped in and shaped by the modernist mindset – Christ molded by modernity. We are far more acculturated to modernity and shaped by its values than we appreciate. We run our churches with the efficiency of the industrial age. We market our messages and conduct our services in the spirit of capitalist consumerism. In the modernist exaltation of knowledge, we teeter on a biblicism that sees the Christian faith as a religion of a book rather than a relationship with the Triune God and our neighbors. We often make the Bible the foundation and center of our faith. But, as Neo tells Dan, 'the Bible never Speaks of itself this way.' It speaks of Christ as the foundation of the Church; thus we are historically know as Christ-ones."

I think this will be rather groundbreaking for many evangelicals and almost impossible to consider for fundamentalists. The enculturation of the Church is so evident, but we Americans just don’t understand that. Especially for evangelicals and fundamentals who must believe that their view of things is God's view of things.

I think I want to buy this one. The book is entitled - "A New Kind of Christian: A Take of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey." By: Brian D. McLaren. Jossey-Bass publishers.

Friday, May 10, 2002

The weather is absolutely beautiful, cars are lined up and down the street, and students and parents are loading up cars, vans, trucks, and just about anything as Kent students finish-up final exams and move out. I love days like this! There is such a sense of anticipation and excitement as students move in during the fall and out during the spring. It is so much fun to watch!

There is nothing like a college town during summer terms. The pace is slow and easy, well except for summer students because the courses are compacted from the normal 15 weeks to 6. Or is that eight weeks - I don't remember.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Well, this morning as I was writing in my paper journal, I finally realized that most of my current angst revolves around loneliness. Yes, I hate to say, I think that is the base problem. Not that I have no friends, because I have more then I can deal with, but what I don't have right now is a buddy living close enough so that we could just hang-out, so that I could just drop by and hang-out or visa-versa. Yes, loneliness. Of course, a boyfriend would be nice, too.

I've also realized that writing in a weblog or even in my honest-to-goodness online journal just isn't the same as writing on paper. It may have to do with the fact that my paper journal will not be read by anyone, so I feel freer to write anything. But, it just isn't an issue of how vulnerable or honest I'm going to be. It just feels different. I just write better. I'm able to work through issues on paper and that just doesn't seem to happen online. Besides, I now have three different "places" I'm writing - blogger, my hand created online journal, and my quiet-time entries. That doesn't count my paper journal. Why?

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

So, I was sitting at my table eating Cinnamon Life reading a magazine article this morning, when I looked up and out the window in my dinning room. Something looked strange across the street. Too much open space, I thought. Then it hit me, “Oh my gosh, the house is gone.” Gone! No more house! Just a big hole in the ground where they basement and drive way used to be. Of course, I quickly noticed the big yellow back-end loader sitting there.

The house had been slated to be torn down for a long time, but there were all kinds of problems due to a few people campaigning to save the “grand old homes of Highland Square.” This house, of course, was anything but grand. It is really a sad story that lead up to this house being torn down. An Old woman who was not quite all there lived in the house with her son (I think). He was in a wheelchair and mentally not right. They had lived there for years and years, back when the whole family was together and the kids were being raised. From my neighbors, I guess there were problems with the family and neighbors for years. Anyway, they obviously didn’t have money to keep up the house, and one son I talked to said the other children would not help at all. “All they want is the stuff inside when Mom dies,” he said. Okay.

The woman had a stroke about a year or so ago and eventually died. The house has been empty all this time with some third parties trying to get their hands on it to sell. The house was in horrible shape; even the staircase was warped because of water streaming into the house from the leaky roof.

It is sad that it had to come to this, but I am glad the house was torn down rather then a land-lord buying the place, throwing a couple thousands dollars of cosmetic repaired into the house, and then renting it to students or as section–8 housing. We have a lot of experience with those types of things in this neighborhood, and it has not turned out well. Not that it can’t, but it just hasn’t.

They’ve started up again. 7:30 am –early! They are trying to break up a large piece of concrete that used to be a retaining wall that kept the ground back from the driveway. The back-end loader raises the huge piece of concrete as far up as they can get it (nearly as high as the telephone poles) and then drop it. My windows shake. It is a very stubborn piece of concrete. If I ever have a retaining wall for whatever reason, I want that kind!

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

"In the club, which was in a basement on the West Side, there were girls in bell-bottoms and belly shirts. Jamie said he was appalled by the retro-craze. 'It's regressive,' he explained. 'It means you are out of ideas, have surrendered to the past, have convinced yourself time has stopped.' Wearing such cloths, he explained, requires an industrial-strength irony, a joke so finely tuned it forgets it's joke. 'So you see, these people are not actually living in the world but in a muddy reflection of the world.' That led him to the subject of multitasking, wherein people, in one moment, perform two tasks: talk to the bank, fold the laundry. 'The age of the multitask is a bankrupt age,' said Jamie. 'It's an age in which , by trying to have two experiences simultaneously, you ruin both and so have no experience at all.'" - Lake Effect by Rich Cohen

This book has pushed my emotions all over the map. Something rarely done. I don't know whether I really like it or not. But, for the good, it caused me to remember those grand times growing up in a small town on Lake Erie.

Monday, May 06, 2002

This morning is too odd. I've had a strange weekend, spurred on by reading and remembering and contemplating and grieving. I've been in this strange place of rushing memories of days in Vermilion, reliving experiences of a boy growing up in a small town on Lake Erie. More conflicts between what life at 40 is supposed to be according to societal convention and how I really feel. Feelings of "it's over," like this is how someone at my age is supposed to feel, yet I don't. In many ways I think about the thrill of adventure and discover in much the same way I did when I was 20. I don't want to lose that, yet at times I feel the battle to remain in that element is about to be lost. I don't really know who to describe it, but a "youthful disposition" (without imaturity) is the best way I know how to live.

I walked into work this morning, after an odd morning and with breakfast at Dodies, feeling as if everything is so surreal - like walking in the heat of a very hot and hazy August afternoon, slow motion, nothing fit, everything about ready to be lost. I am melancholy today.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

I'm having second thoughts about the "co-op" living arrangement. It could be okay, depending on the size of the place. Five bedrooms, maybe, but what are the sizes of the bedrooms? If a bedroom has enough space for a twin bed, a dresser, and a night stand, that just isn't going to cut it! If it will be 5 guys CRAMED into a small space, it is doomed to fail from the get-go.

Friday, May 03, 2002

Welp, I got word today concerning my living arrangements at General come this fall - General Theological Seminary in Manhattan, which I will be attending for the next three years. Anyway, two options were given to me. The first: a three room dorm suite in the basement of one of the seminary buildings with separate and common laundry and bathroom facilities. No kitchen - which is bad because the seminary only provides meals during the week and only 5 lunches and 4 dinners. The second: a new co-op arrangement they are trying this year. There would be 5 guys living in a 5 bedroom apartment. There would be a common kitchen, laundry, living area. It used to be an apartment for one of the faculty with a big family. The apartment is a fifth-floor walk-up. That's a lot of stairs - good exercise, I think.

So, I chose the apartment. It could be fun. It could be a seminary Real World experience.

I'm planning on having the webcam actually working on a regular bases, and I'm sure that people would find the lives of 5 people much more interesting then watching me fall asleep as I attempt to study. Well, if the other guys go for it, that is.

The whole experience could be a lot of fun and a good experience, or I'm just stupid.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

I go through these periods where I'm more conscious of my family. Ever since I went to college my parents and siblings have not been very entwined with my life. It isn't that I don't love them or enjoy myself when I'm around them, it's just that I went to college and never looked back. I get down on myself from time-to-time because I don't call as often as I should nor visit enough. My parents would do anything for "us kids."

This morning, I realized a role my parents do play in my life. They are always there whenever I have something exciting to tell someone, or when I'm confused or angry and need to talk. This is selfish, I know, but right now there is a definite void in my life when it comes to close friends who have known me for a long time. If I'm excited about something, who could I tell -- someone who would honestly be interested? I could call a couple friends, but my parents are always there -- and they are interested. For how long, I don't know. I thought of people who truly have no one.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

I'm in this really odd position right now. Well, odd for me. I feel a great need to write to get all these thoughts down on paper. All these thoughts swirling around in my head and I need to get them out to sort through them. Yet, I'm not. I don't know where to begin. I've got to just start and make the time, force myself to take the time, to simply write.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Okay, okay, I did one of those stupid "personality" questionnaires over the Web. I saw it on GaryJr. and thought, "Hey, what the heck. I've got nothing to lose and time while waiting for the stupid server to run through it's diagnostics." So, I clicked on that little linkie thangie and wham, bam, I'm a Visionary. What? Well, yes, I can see that, but the description will follow me for the rest of my life. No jobs, no friends, no partners, just hordes of revolutionaries following me into the heat of battle while we over through The Man.

Here it is:

Visionary, revolutionary, vigilante - these descriptions all fit you well. You are thoroughly disgusted with society and humanity as a whole, and you have several rather diabolical plans to reshape it to fit your designs. You're probably a loner, and most people think you're crazy. That's just because they don't understand, though, and you'll show them someday anyway. Heh heh heh. You are known to become very passionate about many causes, have torrid love affairs, and be seen as a either a demagogue or a hero to the proletariat masses.

Be cool! Take the What Do You Want Out Of Life? Quiz

Gad, I'm doomed!
I've been reading a board within the website of Stephen Bennett Ministries. Stephen was an alcoholic, druggie homosexual who became a Christian and put all of that aside. He now has an ex-gay ministry as well as being a singer/songwriter. One thing that has amazed me about the conservative side of Christianity is the propensity to want to live under stringent regulations and laws -- in this particular case the Law of Moses / the Levitical Code. For those who believe in the Christian anti-homosexual ideology have to justify making the condemnation of male same-gender sexual contact applicable for today. They have to, in a sense, bring the Law into the "New Covenant" of grace secured through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They have to place themselves under the "yoke" of the Law once again, forgoing the freedom of grace. Here is his URL:

For Christians, this is a remarkable undertaking. An undertaking I simply don't understand. The New Testament is full references rebuking those who would attempt to impose the stringent requirements of the Law of Moses onto Christians, be they Jews or Gentiles. Why do so many Christians want to once again put themselves under the Law? Is it only because they are so repulsed by homosexuality that they will do anything, even developed warped theology by repeating ancient errors that harm themselves, to justify condemning in the strongest terms homosexuality and/or homosexuals?

Friday, April 19, 2002

There is a letter to the editor in the "West Side Leader" I received two days ago. The West Side Leader is a weekly newspaper devoted to the neighborhoods and suburbs of western Akron, OH. From this letter to the editor, I gather there must have been a serious of letters concerning Intelligent Design and Evolution. There has been a lot of debate at the state level as the Education Dept. sets new science education standards statewide. (The panel recently rejected inclusion of Intelligent Design in the state science standards. The pro-Intelligent Design group will appeal.)

I was so disappointed and embarrassed as I read the letter. A Christian man from Bath, a very wealthy suburb with much higher then average education levels, should have done better. This type of thinking only reinforces absolutely all the negative stereotypes many thinking people have of conservative Christians. The letter only reinforces the notion that Christians will put aside intellectual inquiry and scientific facts for mythology and wishful thinking. Regardless how the world came into being, this way of thinking saddens me. I feel for him and accuse the pastors and teachers under whose influence he places himself. How deep is his "faith"? How much mental gymnastics does he have to employ to buttress his "faith"? Is this really a prime example of dualistic thinking? If you believe in a 7 literal day creation, so be it, but at least be informed about your belief. Blind faith will us no where.

Here is the letter:

To the Editor:
Intelligent Design vs. Evolution discussions have filled the West Side Leader during the pasta few weeks, and I want to 'jump-in' with my comment on the matter.

I have been taught from early childhood that my God created the heavens and everything there is.

I have accepted that on faith and managed to make it through the educational system without losing that faith (he also made it through an educational system that did not teach him to think, and that has nothing to do with his belief in creationism! - me) in the ability of God to be the creator of this entire universe.

It is just too bad that there are those who cannot see clearly the logic of a creator - the evidence to me is overwhelming that this is the only belief system one should adopt and believe.

When my God created the stars, he did so with light-years already build into them. (Why would God need to do this? If the universe is young, it is young. Why would God need to make them *seem* like they are billions of years old through the process of light traveling light-years? - me) When my God created trees, he did so with the growth rings already there. When my God created Adam, he was already a man - perhaps 30 years of age.

When my God created the planet Earth, he did so with age already built into the rocks. (Why do this? Its just justification. -me)

The diversity and greatness of this universe and all the little tiny buys, microbes, and yes, even man himself, is a testimony enough for me that there is a God.

My comment to those who believe otherwise: I feel sorry for you if you believe the evolution myth - you have nothing to look forward to when you die. Your life must really be miserable.

I believe the Bible and Genesis, 1:1/ I hope in my life."

- David Strong, Bath

I am glad that he has a belief system that provides structure and meaning -- everyone has one. I wish his faith where based on something not so easily threatened, a faith not so weak or shallow - at least it seems that way. I'm not sure what goes on inside him emotionally or intellectually, but he stands on a weak foundation. I thought he might be young, but then maybe he is quite old. I don't know. I hope his faith will mature into something not based on blind-faith in a system that can't stand up to scrutiny. If God and Christianity cannot stand up to scrutiny, then it can't be true and I want nothing to do with it.

Listening to: Sugar - Copper Blue

Monday, April 15, 2002

Still not feeling well today. I planned on going to the doctor, but my fevor is gone and my neck is a little less sore -- I think I'll skip a visit to the doctor.

The weather today is beautiful -- 72 degrees F and sun! We are supposed to have thunderstorms, but around here we never know from one hour to the next what the weather will be.

The Democrats are after Bush now!

Sunday, April 14, 2002

It's funny when one discovers he/she is more against things rather then for anything. I realized today that much of my life (thoughts, reflections, advocations) right now have been against what I see as problems, rather then being an advocate of what I am for.

I think about looking into someone's eyes when they are passionately talking about something. What is in their eyes at that moment? Excitement? Thrill? Anger? Frustration? What.... ? If I turn that around and wonder what people have been seeing in my eyes of late when speaking passionately, what have they seen? Frustration. Anger. Arrogance. Disappointment. Why am I not focusing on or advocating for the things that bring life, rather then that which gets my blood boiling?

As I recently said to a friend, I've really noticed that much of my thinking and feeling lately revolves around the anti-gay / pro-gay and Christian debate. I do dwell a lot on that stuff. So much of what I've been expressing lately is the anger, frustration, and disappointment in the prohabitionist-gay stance of the Christian right in this country and how they are, in many other ways too, hurting the cause of Christ and driving many people away from God -- often viciously and always unnecessarily. How much mental and emotional energy am I going to invest in this? It has gotten to the point where I'm sure my eyes reveal not the hope and freedom of Christ, but the tragedy of the Religious-Right concerning this issue.

My hope is that when speaking passionately, my eyes reveal an excitement, a hope, a peace, and freedom, rather then frustration and anger that can possibly consume me. If my soul is not at peace, how can anything that comes from me be peaceful? I gotta get beyond this.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

I'm sick again. I don't know why I've been sick so often this winter. I'm rarely sick more then once a winter and then for only a couple days. I'm hot, then I'm cold. I pile on cloths, and then strip them off. Achy all over. My eyes hurt, and I have a swollen and sore lymph-node. Thank goodness I don't feel like throwing-up or some such messy thing. Fever? Yes.

I'm going to have to miss David Sadaris (sp?) tonight. Dan and I have great tickets, but I just don't think I'll be able to go. I missed this weekend's class with only one more weekend of class left. I'm really disappointed that I can't be there. We had to watch "Death of a Salesmen" for discussion. What a depressing movie!

Thursday, April 11, 2002

There were demonstrations on campus today. At the Student Center Plaza, Hillel presented a pro-Israeli rally. In front of the MACC, the Palestinian students rallied. There were people from each other's group at the opposing demonstration. Peaceful.

Hillel pretty much read the names of the Jews and Arab Israelis killed by terrorist bombers and encouraged people to get all sides of the story. There were a lot of Israeli flags and chalk drawings. The Palestinians had a lot of chalk drawings of people with names and ages of those killed by Israeli troops. There were flags. They were shouting, "Sharon and Hitler are the same. Only the name has changed." I think that is a bit extreme.

Tomorrow is another day...
Listening:Marie McKee

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Those Brits really know how to put on a good show, or with regard to the Queen Mum's funeral, good pageantry. It was a very dignified and moving funeral and Anglican service.

Listening: The Call's Compilation